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A much more accurate book is Steven Johnson's book "How We Got To Now". He, like Gates and Kaku goes through several fields. The difference is his work is an explanation of what it took to get to today. His isn't a speculation of what's to be. It's more of a chronicle of the steps to took to get here. He does have the advantage of looking back rather than looking forward. His thinking can be applied to looking at the future.
People in high places do it all the time. Consider NASA. They are thinking about colonies on Mars. They can't just say "let's go to Mars". That may be the grand statement, but there's a hundred or a thousand things that have to fall in place to get there. Johnson can probably trace a colony on Mars back to the Chinese coming up with gun powder. But, that enough of a tangent (or in Intel speak - "a rat hole".
I've used PS's Auto-Align feature many times, but on today's image it was the first time I used it's Auto-Blend device. Auto-Align did it's typical good job spreading the four images out. Auto-Blend? Not so much. It was much quicker than doing a bunch of hand work to isolate the rider in four spots, but it made some... interesting masking decisions. I'd say it got me 80% of the way there. The rest was cleaning up the areas where it dropped masking points in fairly strange places. Not a big deal. I just had to go in and do a little mask painting.
The reason I do hand work in PS is to find out what the process is. Any thing that can be done to automate what I already know..I'm all for. I'll be using Auto-Blend more often.