• The End of Life as We Know It

  • Ominous News from the Frontiers of Science
  • By: Michael Guillen PhD
  • Narrated by: Michael Guillen PhD
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (154 ratings)

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The End of Life as We Know It

By: Michael Guillen PhD
Narrated by: Michael Guillen PhD
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Publisher's Summary

In nearly all aspects of life, humans are crossing lines of no return.

Modern science is leading us into vast uncharted territory - far beyond the invention of nuclear weapons or taking us to the moon. Today, in labs all over the world, scientists are performing experiments that threaten to fundamentally alter the practical character and ethical color of our everyday lives.

In The End of Life as We Know It, best-selling author Michael Guillen takes a penetrating look at how the scientific community is pushing the boundaries of morality, including: 

  • Scientists who detached the head of a Russian man from his crippled, diseased body and stitched it onto a healthy new donated body
  • Fertility experiments aimed at allowing designer babies to be conceived with the DNA from three or more biological parents
  • The unprecedented politicization of science - for example, in the global discussion about climate change that is pitting "deniers" against "alarmists" and inspiring Draconian legislation, censorship, and legal prosecutions
  • The integration of artificial Intelligence into communications and the economy

The End of Life as We Know It takes us into laboratories and boardrooms where these troubling advances are taking place and asks the question no scientists seem to be asking: What does this mean for the future of humanity?

©2018 Michael Guillen, PhD (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

The tile should I do ate it's a Christian view of science.

Very nice until the last chapters. Darwin trashed? Atheists are Christian-bashers? I like the subject, but Christians should Indicate on the cover of their writing g about sconce. They bash it with false accusations. Next!

8 people found this helpful

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Broad, well-written modern tech summary

This is an excellent broad view of recent advances in AI, neuro-technology, computer science, data & communications. Most people who read pop science will be familiar with much of it, but I still found it interesting. The breadth is significant, so Guillen never goes very in-depth in any single area. I was able to overlook minor gripes about the author reading his own work (which is never ideal but is less problematic in nonfiction than fiction) & expressing his political, moral & religious views at the end. However, if these aspects will bother you, then you'll want to skip this book.

For example, Guillen is quite upfront about calling himself a Baby Boomer and saying he's against concepts like UBI which he views as a socialist attempt to create a permanent underclass. My family came from a country that's been destroyed by socialism & the rise of an authoritarian government which often accompanies it. So, Guillen's views do not offend me. I like that he is forthcoming with his opinions rather than pretending to be neutral. However, I disagree that UBI = socialism. All of society would benefit if we successfully implemented UBI in a cooperative & compassionate way that took account of human neuroscience & behavior rather than rewarding inactivity.

Lastly, I'm a neuro, so I'll comment on the section of the book that crossed into territory I call "neuro-futurism." I'm often asked if science is close to "reading & changing our thoughts" & "uploading our minds." No. The brain computer interfaces that can be utilized to move robots & artificial limbs is not closely related to the technology that we'd need to measure, interpret & alter human memories & cognition. Unfortunately, neuroscience is currently overrun with "new money" electrical engineers & computer scientists who underestimate the complexity of the human brain & erroneously think that a few million dollars of investment will achieve their sci-fi fantasies.

Elon Musk's Neuralink, while interesting, doesn't trigger much genuine enthusiasm among clinicians & academics. We tend to think his money would be better spent on technology that could treat suffering patients. Additionally, Google subsidiary X Company just made their EEG tech open source after acknowledging they can't find a depression biomarker. Their desire to scan brains & collect detailed data is admirable. We can't yet so that because our other ways of measuring neuro activity are so simple. EEG records brainwaves that are just measurements of oscillations in electrochemical activities of neural ensembles in the cerebral cortex. We need to map brain function & structure at the smallest level, but that analysis is destructive, i.e., tissue doesn't survive, so donor brains are used. Becoming an organ donor is an admirable way for the average person to contribute to advancing neuroscience. Billionaires could use their money to achieve impactful technology right now if they'd listen to experts in the field.

For example, we should make a new 'brain pacemaker.' Just as a heart pacemaker regulates heartbeats, this electrical device can prevent neurochemical irregularities. It can stop some types of strokes as well as block damage from "mini-strokes" that go unnoticed but cause neurodegeneration processes that age the brain & lead to diseases like Parkinson's & Alzheimer's. Pharmaceutical companies are approaching those conditions in a more difficult way, which is why their medicines haven't been very successful. It's much harder to stop problems that are being caused by damaged tissue than it is to prevent the tissue from becoming damaged in the first place. For example, wearing sunscreen protects your skin from damaging sunrays that trigger aging & skin care. Similarly, the brain pacemaker would ward against harmful spikes that damage your brain.

The Big Tech giants & geniuses who are behind most of the modern advances discussed in Guillen's book have so much money & power that they could really improve the world. I wish they would dedicate their resources to funding neuro-technology, clean energy & processing of nuclear waste. Advances in these areas will greatly improve life on Earth. Great minds should be working on the important challenges facing humankind. Instead, they are creating electronic trading bots that profit off tiny discrepancies in financial markets. They are finding new ways to harvest & exploit user data to maximize targeted advertising schemes. And they are writing social media algorithms that promote the rapid, viral spread of cat videos & conspiracy theories all around the globe. 🤔

5 people found this helpful

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Troubling Use of Christian Morality

I enjoyed the book at first, then the author weaved more and more threads of religion into his story.

4 people found this helpful

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  • JD
  • 11-18-20

I made it 9 minutes before shutting it off

It’s fairly common for a book of this genre to list a few headlines to pique the reader’s attention, but after 9 minutes of nothing but the author reading off article headlines I shut it off. If the author is this unimaginative with the introduction then I’ll just assume the rest of the book is equally mundane.

3 people found this helpful

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I was hoping a scientific review, I got a bunch of personal opinions

Instead of recount of the latest advances you will get a bunch of preconceived notions based on religion and or personal opinions. Religion, not science is the base of this book, if you want a scientific recount of current advances this is not the book you want to spend your time with. It will leave you an aftertaste of bad republican propaganda.

3 people found this helpful

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Look for a different book

did not enjoy. not worth finishing. narrator has a voice for TV, not radio. the content is not really worth listening to unless you have never heard of the topic areas; internet, automation, surveillance, medical technology.

2 people found this helpful

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😳😓😅🤣😂😇

I HAVE BARELY BEGUN TO LISTEN TO THIS AUDIOBOOK AND SCARY- YES. BUT I HAD TO LEAVE A REVIEW ALREADY....... I AM SO VERY THANKFUL THAT I HAVEN’T HAD A TV IN YEARS: ABSOLUTELY BY CHOICE. I DON’T DO FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM OR ANY OTHER APP SUCH AS THE LIKES OF THOSE. WHEN I LEAVE MY HOUSE, MY IPHONE XR STAYS IN THE HOUSE- I NEVER TAKE IT WITH ME, NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT- JUST NEVER BROUGHT IT WITH ME. GUESS THAT TAKES CARE OF GPS AND MY MOVEMENTS AND WHEREABOUTS, HUH?
IF MY PHONE REALLY WANTS TO LISTEN TO ME: IT HEARS A LOT OF ME TALKING TO MY LORD JESUS CHRIST. AMEN.

2 people found this helpful

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Good until the end, where it feels like a sermon

I liked this book until the end, where the author discusses his views on religion and it’s superiority to secularism. While he is certainly entitled to his opinion it felt like an overt attempt to challenge the evidence-minded audience likely to be drawn to this book.
The author seems to think secularists have subscribed to an alternate faith called scientism, but that accusation misunderstands the entire point. Science doesn’t require faith, it instead seeks to understand the cosmos through experimentation and evidence. Religion claims to already understand the cosmos but requires, and reveres, without evidence.

2 people found this helpful

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Scientifically illiterate.

He does not seem to have an accurate understanding of how the scientific method works.

1 person found this helpful

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Deceptive

Mostly one sided take (attack) on technology's impact on society. 'felt like "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." An admonishment to accept "Christian" wisdom at the end.

1 person found this helpful