Imagine, if you can, the world in the year 2100.
In Physics of the Future, Michio Kaku—the New York Times best-selling author of Physics of the Impossible—gives us a stunning, provocative, and exhilarating vision of the coming century based on interviews with over 300 of the world’s top scientists who are already inventing the future in their labs.
In all likelihood, by 2100 we will control computers via tiny brain sensors and, like magicians, move objects around with the power of our minds. Artificial intelligence will be dispersed throughout the environment, and Internet-enabled contact lenses will allow us to access the world's information base or conjure up any image we desire in the blink of an eye.
Meanwhile, cars will drive themselves using GPS, and if room-temperature superconductors are discovered, vehicles will effortlessly fly on a cushion of air, coasting on powerful magnetic fields and ushering in the age of magnetism.
Using molecular medicine, scientists will be able to grow almost every organ of the body and cure genetic diseases. Millions of tiny DNA sensors and nanoparticles patrolling our blood cells will silently scan our bodies for the first sign of illness, while rapid advances in genetic research will enable us to slow down or maybe even reverse the aging process, allowing human life spans to increase dramatically.
In space, radically new ships—vessels using laser propulsion—could replace the expensive chemical rockets of today and perhaps visit nearby stars.
Kaku also discusses emotional robots, antimatter rockets, X-ray vision, and the ability to create new life-forms, and he considers the development of the world economy.
Synthesizing a vast amount of information to construct an exciting look at the years leading up to 2100, Physics of the Future is a thrilling, wondrous ride through the next 100 years of breathtaking scientific revolution.
©2011 Michio Kaku (P)2011 Random House
"Following in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci and Jules Verne, Kaku, author of a handful of books about science, looks into the not-so-distant future and envisions what the world will look like. It should be an exciting place, with driverless cars, Internet glasses, universal translators, robot surgeons, the resurrection of extinct life forms, designer children, space tourism, a manned mission to Mars, none of which turn out to be as science-fictiony as they sound. In fact, the most exciting thing about the book is the fact that most of the developments Kaku discusses can be directly extrapolated from existing technologies. Robot surgeons and driverless cars, for example, already exist in rudimentary forms. Kaku, a physics professor and one of the originators of the string field theory (an offshoot of the more general string theory), draws on current research to show how, in a very real sense, our future has already been written. The book's lively, user-friendly style should appeal equally to fans of science fiction and popular science." (Booklist)
My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.
Michio Kaku is always a good listen. I only have one disagreement with him and that's the issue of the US going back to product production. I think we'll eventually have to in most fields to secure a healthy economy. There's just too many people that lack a higher education in this country that could be left behind in an ever increasingly intellectually driven job market. Relying on overseas markets to produce goods has weakened our economy and caused a huge separation in the classes. This trend, if continued, will eventually create a lower class of Americans that will become so poor they'll become wards of the government. In this year 2011 45% of the population didn't pay taxes. We need to turn this around before it's too late. Remember it isn't us and them in this country. We live in a fish bowl. Everyone affects the whole system. Crap in one corner of the bowl and eventually it'll contaminate the whole bowl.
Not only redundant with itself, if you have listened to his other 2 books (which I liked) you will hear a lot of the same info. In this book he seems to have pieced together a vision of the future from a few movies and builds a rationalization to show how it will happen. In some cases the basic premise seems just wrong. For example he thinks telecommuting will never catch on because people only feel comfortable with in person contact. Seriously? Must be why social networking sites are doing so poorly. Not to mention companies are already starting to figure out the economic advantages to having phone and tech workers working from home. So even if employees want to work from an office it might not be the norm much longer. Or the contradiction of maintenance robots will always be too stupid to do repairs unmonitored while at the same time your car drives itself and your AI can be the perfect assistant. We are talking Eureka's S.A.R.A.H. here. I could make many more examples but I think I've made my point.
The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
I think this would be a fantastic book for people who are interested in the future and science generally, but who do not follow future trends very closely. For someone like myself, who reads a ton of science fiction, reads scientific magazines and watches lots of science documentaries, there was not a lot of stuff in here that I didn’t already know.
[I listened to this as an audio book performed by Feodor Chin. The narrator did a very good job, although I did speed up the audio to 1.25 speed because I found it a bit slow going.]
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist at City College of New York. He has appeared on television many times and writes extensively about future inventions and their consequence in “Physics of the Future”. Kaku’s futurist perspective is based on what is happening in physics today. He extrapolated from today’s science to tomorrow’s probability. Kaku believes that all reality, yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's, is dictated by quantum physics. At a molecular level, quantum physics experimentally confirms all reality is a matter of probability; not certainty.
Before leaving individual predictions, Kaku explains the Kardashev scale of civilization to contextualize the state of the world. The Kardashev scale begins at 0 and rises to Type V. Today’s world is estimated to be at .7, less than 1. Coincidentally, getting to 1 is the most dangerous level to achieve, without catastrophe. Level 1 presumes fusion power is available on a large-scale; antimatter is available in large quantities, and fossil fuels become an abandoned source of energy.
Getting from .7 to 1 on the Kardashev scale is fraught with human potential for world destruction. Great social upheavals will occur with the evolution of energy use. Some nations will be threatened by the change. Jobs will be at risk; nation’s economies will be overwhelmed by need for change. Purpose in life will be questioned. Social structure will be challenged by new measures of status. Civilizations will either embrace or reject cooperation among nations.
Kaku summarizes his view of the future by reflecting on a future husband’s and wife’s benefits from extraordinary scientific discoveries. Kaku opts for a utopian transition of civilization that reaches level 1 on the Kardashev scale, within 100 years.
And so–Kierkekaardian’ fear and trembling stream through Kaku’s vision of the future because many of his predictions could as easily steer mankind to an end as a beginning.
Jack of all Trades, Master of None
Yes, there is an interesting picture being painted about the future we are all moving towards to.
Yes, I have read other books of his and I think he's a good story teller.
No, this is my first time.
Yes, though I would caution people, the book is three years old now and some of the ideas for the future already seem outdated.
It's hard to get the future correctly right of course. I think what this book suffers from, as will most other books that predict the future, is what I have called the "TNG Syndrome". Namely, how in TNG everybody had tablets, but they were just books / notebooks in the traditional paper sense.
Odds are good you have a smart phone in your pocket, this is the tablet from TNG and it works quite a bit different then the tablets do in TNG.
Likewise, in the book there are a few technologies that he describes that clearly are rooted in this TNG look of the future. A prime example is how he envisions your self-driving car to figure out a route via GPS (good), and then get traffic information over sensors that are embedded in the road. This is humours to me because if you have Google Maps on your phone, you can already figure out how thick the traffic is. How does Google do it? They use your device and others to measure density and flow of traffic. Likewise, a self-driving car would not have to rely on a central authority to tell them how the road conditions are. It could communicate with the other cars in the vicinity via mesh network, thus get information even if there is no network coverage available for it.
This is just one example, there are a few others in the book. I think the ideas he has aren't wrong, it's just that his implementation of the technologies is often still insular, instead of connected. But it does give some good food for thought.
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