The cover image of this book contains an invitation and a warning. It prompts us to remember that our entire civilisation is grounded in the global evolution of life over immense periods of time. Yet, as the dominant life form, we tend to forget our profound debt to natural process and our role as caring stewards. High-tech culture can be deceptive. It can appear all-powerful, but this transitory moment on the surface of deep time hides our debt to, and continuing dependence on, natural process. So, as digital technologies driven ever deeper into human society by the rich and powerful accelerate the disruption of global systems, we might be reminiscent that there’s always a price to pay for carelessness.
This book reminds us that what matters most in this critical digital era is not the power and reach of advanced technologies but the core values that guide our use of them. The 400-million-year-old trilobite pictured here is a reminder that life existed long before us and there will be life long after we have departed. If it could speak it might say something like: ‘remember where you came from; tread with care, with dignity, and live lightly upon this ancient world.’