Marcelo Gleiser

We all know that the world is changing. Fast. But do we know where it is going? Not exactly.

That being the case, how can we control where it is going? And who is the "we" in control? In Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity, the technology futurist, geopolitical expert, past White House fellow, and, like this author, dedicated endurance athlete Jamie Metzl paints a picture that is at once wondrous and terrifying.

Stephen Hawking is one of those rare luminaries whose life symbolizes the best humanity has to offer.

His uncanny creativity as a theoretical physicist and his decades-long struggle with a horribly debilitating motor neuron disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease) inspired millions to revisit their bonds with science and with their personal challenges.

Given that science is believed to be about certainty, betting on a scientific idea sounds like an oxymoron.

Yet scientists bet on ideas all the time, even if mostly for jest. Of course, this only makes sense before we have any data pointing toward the correctness of the disputed hypothesis.