Wed, 18 January 2023

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT


A User’s Guide to the Future — From the Fate of the Galaxy to the Last Black Hole

David Christian in conversation with David Malone

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‘David Christian’s approach to understanding history can help all of us learn to prepare for the future that lies ahead and the big challenges facing humanity.’ – Bill Gates


Fans of Yuval Noah Harari and Jared Diamond ought not to miss this guide to the future from the wildly acclaimed pioneer of Big History, David Christian.

Every second of our lives – whether we’re looking both ways before crossing the street, celebrating the birth of a baby, or moving to a new city – we must cope with an unknowable future. How do we do this? And how do we, like most living organisms, manage this impossible challenge quite well… at least most of the time?

David Christian, historian and bestselling author of Origin Story, is renowned for pioneering the emerging discipline of Big History, which surveys the whole of the past. But now he casts his sharp analytical eye forward, offering an introduction to the strange world of the future, and a guide to what we think we know about it at all scales, from the predictive mechanisms of single-celled organisms and tomato plants to how human beings can predict the merging of colossal galaxies billions of years from now.

Drawing together science and history, philosophy and theology from a huge range of places and times, David will explore how we prepare for uncertain futures, including the future of human evolution, artificial intelligence, interstellar travel, and more.

By linking the study of the past much more closely to the study of the future, we can begin to imagine what the world will look like in the next hundred years and consider solutions to the biggest challenges facing us all.


Praise for David Christian’s A User’s Guide to the Future

‘In this erudite and immersive study, Big History Project cofounder Christian (Origin Story) examines the science and history of “future thinking” and sketches what the distant future might look like… Christian lucidly explains complex scientific, philosophical, and historical concepts. The result is a stimulating look ahead.’ Publisher’s Weekly

‘Future Stories is simultaneously entertaining and sobering, and is recommended reading for anyone who may be curious about what’s ahead of us.’ Shelf Awareness

‘A fascinating journey… reminiscent of Peter Godfrey-Smith’s writings on the octopus… Future Stories is rich with insights… Most dangerous threats arise from technological and economic overreach… Future Stories not only shows how we have approached such choices through history – it helps us to understand the odds.’ New Scientist

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David Christian

Historian and Futurist

David Christian is a Professor Emeritus at Macquarie University, where he was formerly a Distinguished Professor of History and the director of the Big History Institute. He has delivered keynotes at conferences around the world, including the Davos World Economic Forum, and his TED Talk has been viewed more than 19 million times. He is the author of numerous books including the New York Times bestseller Origin Story.

David Malone

Award-winning Science Filmmaker

David Malone is a filmmaker and TV presenter whose documentaries include Testing God, Soul Searching (both Channel 4), Dangerous Knowledge and The Secret Life of Waves (both BBC). He is the author of The Debt Generation.