Humanity’s Greatest Challenge to be Discussed October 27 at Ripon College | New

Michael Bess, author of the new book “Planet in Peril: Humanity’s Four Greatest Challenges and How We Can Overcome Them,” will speak Thursday, October 27 at Ripon College.

His presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Kresge Little Theater in East Hall on the Ripon College campus. The conference is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Center for Politics and People, the Department of History, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and the Environmental Studies Program.

Bess is a specialist in 20th and 21st century Europe, with a particular interest in the interactions between social and cultural processes and technological change. His fifth and most recent book focuses on the existential risks posed by climate change, nuclear weapons, pandemics (natural or bio-engineered), and artificial intelligence. The book examines the solutions that have been tried and why they have failed so far.

It outlines a path for gradually changing the UN over the next century so that it becomes more effective in coordinating global solutions. The book explores how to overcome ideological polarization and global political fragmentation, drawing lessons from the experience of the environmental movement and the European unification movement.

Bess has taught at Vanderbilt University since 1989. He is the Chancellor’s Professor of History and Professor of Science and Technology Communication.

He is an award-winning historian of science and technology. His previous books are “Our Grandchildren Redesigned: Life in the Bioengineered Society of the Near Future”; “Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II;” “The Light-Green Society: Ecology and Technological Modernity in France, 1960-2000”, which won the George Perkins Marsh Prize (2004) from the American Society for Environmental History; and “Realism, utopia and mushroom cloud: four militant intellectuals and their strategies for peace, 1945-1989”.

Bess is co-editor of “Posthumanism: The Future of Homo Sapiens,” a volume of scholarly essays on bio-enhancement technologies and their social and ethical implications.

About Bernice D. Brewer

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