Although the confrontation between rich and poor is universal, it can be heightened by various factors. According to Jacques Blamont, the widening technological gap between the poor and rich nations is one such aggravating factor. The revolution in information technology has been largely responsible, because it has helped to concentrate more and more power and wealth in the hands of the few - particularly in the United States. Blamont lists various potentially threatening situations that are converging to create an explosion such as the world has never seen before. These include: the demographic growth of the very poor, the ageing population in the developed countries, new climatic risks that are endangering the environment, the spread of new epidemics as a result of globalisation, and the limited effects of the military strategies adopted by the most powerful nations. Step by step, the author deconstructs the hellish machine that our children will inherit from us - because we put too much faith in technological progress. Jacques Blamont is a member of the French Academy of Science and a professor at the University of Paris-VI. He is one of the fathers of the French space programme and was formerly the scientific director of the CNES. He is most notably the author of Vénus dévoilée and Le Chiffre et le Songe.