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Book Review Article: What Future for the Human Species?

Julien Delhez

Published: 2019/03/01


Seymour W. Itzkoff’s 2284, World Society is a work of fiction that imagines how the world could fare in the twenty-third century. In Itzkoff’s future, widespread ignorance about human nature and intellectual inequalities lead to a worldwide collapse in the twenty-first century. After more than 100 years of troubles, visionaries come together and establish the World Society, an organization aiming to promote social equality, democracy, and peace on Earth. To achieve this goal, the World Society asks scientists to analyze the cause of the collapse. Following the scientists’ conclusions, it decides to raise human intelligence to a uniformly high level, which enables worldwide democracy, economic prosperity, social equality, secularism, and scientific rationality. Unlike the League of Nations or the United Nations, the World Society has considerable military power and is able to enforce peace on Earth, although it usually uses diplomatic means. Once the main challenges have been addressed, the World Society continues to settle disputes between national entities and to address issues related to democracy, economy, ethnic diversity, religion, arts, and human sexuality. 2284, World Society is an important and disturbing book which tackles vital issues such as the future of human intelligence, how ethnic diversity can be dealt with, and what it takes for democracy to work. Itzkoff offers a perspective that is rarely heard and that should be taken seriously by all readers regardless of background or political orientation.

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