03 March 2011

Living in the Far Future with Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku is smarter than me and probably smarter than you, unless you really ARE a rocket scientist. Kaku is a quantum physicist who “grapples ... every day (with) the equations that govern the subatomic particles out of which the universe is created,” he says.

I have no idea how to grapple with subatomic particles. Despite this, I can understand most of what Kaku writes and says. You have to be really smart to be smart enough to make yourself clearly understood. It’s a gift, and Michio Kaku has it.

In his latest book “Physics of the Future” Kaku postulates “how science will shape human destiny and our daily lives by the year 2100" a time when we’ll all be dead. Our children and most of our grandchildren, all gone – unless...

Unless all the medical advances outlined here come true. In the future “DNA chips scattered throughout our environment” will constantly “monitor us for cancer cells years before a tumor forms.” We’ll have hand-held tricorders like in Star Trek. We’ll do MRIs on the spot. Doctors will order new organs grown directly from our own cells. Our descendants will have access to all this and a lot more. Maybe even at a price they can afford.

We will live longer and appear younger. Sixty will be the new twenty-five. It could happen.

“The Physics of the Future” is full of exciting, startling predictions, extrapolated from prototypes and research. Kaku insists his predictions, like those of Jules Verne, are based on best available science, and interviews with hundreds of cutting-edge scientists around the world.

In 1863 Jules Verne wrote “Paris in the Twentieth Century.” In that novel and in “From the Earth to the Moon” Verne predicted glass skyscrapers, air conditioning, TV, elevators, high-speed trains, gasoline powered automobiles, fax machines, even something resembling the Internet. He predicted the first moon mission, the size of the space capsule, location of the launch site in Florida, the number of astronauts on the mission, the length of time the voyage would last, weightlessness the astronauts would experience, and the final splashdown in the ocean.

Verne had gunpowder for rocket fuel, but even geniuses don’t get everything right.

Kaku offers chapters on the future of the computer, artificial intelligence, medicine, nanotechnology, energy, space travel, wealth, and humans themselves. He understands that science is morally neutral, and can be used for bad as well as good. He could give more thought to the risk of uneven distribution of all this progress. It could lead to future conflicts if we don’t do things right.

In the year 2100 I speak to my electronic wall and say “Molly (we call our wall Molly), I want to plan a European vacation. A real one. Not one of those holographic walk-throughs you are so good at. Please (we say please, even though Molly is a robot) check on flights, hotels, sites or events that may interest us. You know our tastes.

“In a few minutes, Molly has prepared a detailed itinerary.” Later, in the Roman Forum, a reconstruction of Imperial Rome is “resurrected in (my) contact lenses.” Language translation? Projected in your eye.

Kaku may have it wrong about wrapping wires around your skull in order to telepathically control your home, but gee whiz, how would I know?

You will enjoy this book. I did, a lot. See you in the future.


Michio Kaku’s homepage

His blog...

This link will take you to Mr Kaku’s Facebook fan page, where his personal appearances also are listed...


Beth said...

I enjoyed your post and I think after reading this that I would enjoy the book.

molly said...

Hey Tony. I enjoy your comments on books and associated thoughts. This morning I rather enjoyed hearing you call you wall Molly. Personally, I find Molly to be a fine name for walls, cats, dogs and even sales reps. All the best. molly divine

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