The New York Times best-selling author of Physics of the Impossible, Physics of the Future and Hyperspace tackles the most fascinating and complex object in the known universe: the human brain.
For the first time in history, the secrets of the living brain are being revealed by a battery of high-tech brain scans devised by physicists. Now what was once solely the province of science fiction has become a startling reality. Recording memories, telepathy, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis are not only possible; they already exist.
The Future of the Mind gives us an authoritative and compelling look at the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world - all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics. One day we might have a "smart pill" that can enhance our cognition; be able to upload our brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; send thoughts and emotions around the world on a "brain-net"; control computers and robots with our mind; push the very limits of immortality; and perhaps even send our consciousness across the universe.
Dr. Kaku takes us on a grand tour of what the future might hold, giving us not only a solid sense of how the brain functions but also how these technologies will change our daily lives. He even presents a radically new way to think about "consciousness" and applies it to provide fresh insight into mental illness, artificial intelligence and alien consciousness.
With Dr. Kaku's deep understanding of modern science and keen eye for future developments, The Future of the Mind is a scientific tour de force - an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience.
©2014 Michio Kaku (P)2014 Random House Audio
"In this expansive, illuminating journey through the mind, theoretical physicist Kaku (Physics of the Future) explores fantastical realms of science fiction that may soon become our reality. His futurist framework merges physics with neuroscience...applied to demonstrations that ‘show proof-of-principle’ in accomplishing what was previously fictional: That minds can be read, memories can be digitally stored, and intelligences can be improved to great extents. The discussion, while heavily scientific, is engaging, clear, and replete with cinematic references.... These new mental frontiers make for captivating reading." (Publishers Weekly )
"Kaku turns his attention to the human mind with equally satisfying results…. Telepathy is no longer a fantasy since scanners can already detect, if crudely, what a subject is thinking, and genetics and biochemistry now allow researchers to alter memories and increase intelligence in animals. Direct electrical stimulation of distinct brain regions has changed behavior, awakened comatose patients, relieved depression, and produced out-of-body and religious experiences…. Kaku is not shy about quoting science-fiction movies and TV (he has seen them all)… he delivers ingenious predictions extrapolated from good research already in progress." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Chin tells the story of the popularization of brain science with an up-tempo, keeping the listener's interest in the dense material.... This is an excellent attempt at bringing academic research to the layperson in audio format." (AudioFile)
Letting the rest of the world go by
Every so often an author makes a stab at, "what makes humans special from all other animals". Michio Kaku does his best through defining humans through their ability to simulate the future both in space and time. He uses this definition for human consciousness and specialness and goes about explaining all phenomena arising from the brain. There's almost no topic he doesn't touch, hypnosis, outer-body-experience, abnormal psychology, BMI (brain machine interface), and so on.
For each topic, he gives the history, the current state of the art and then some wild speculations about the topic. Each topic is covered widely but he doesn't have a chance to delve into in depth with the exception of the final chapter on Artificial Intelligence. He gives his all on that topic, and he even explains the Kurzweill's Singularity better than Kurzweil does.
I learned more about the right/left mind dichotomy in this book than I have from books dedicated to that topic because that kept popping up in most of the different topics he was covering. That part of the story was more interesting to me than the author's special definition of what makes humans special.
It's hard not to like an author who seems to know every episode of Star Trek or Twilight Zone and knows how to relate that to what he is writing about. If your anything like me, you probably love it when Michio Kaku appears on the Discovery Channel because he's going to give you a sound bite you will understand and can make your own.
Unfortunately, for me, the book is more sound bite than depth, but for some that will be why they like the book more than I do.
I'm Trying to see the world with my ears.
This book is a wonderful combination of up-to-date research on the mind and and plausible speculation on what the future might hold. Pills to make you smarter?
Teleportation? Memory erasure treatments? Automatic translation as people speak? Mind-reading computers? You'll learn just how close researchers are to making these things reality.
Some very interesting developments in the exploration and understanding of the human brain. Some of the applications of what is learned is great for people with disabilities. Other applications can enhance human bodies. Some applications can be frighteningly used to extract information or to control. Taking in the patterns across a number of brains for the same information is an interesting way to understand how to read (or send) information (the mechanistic version of telepathy or teleportation)
However, after listening to other Audible books about scientific exploration and consciousness, there is an impression of science in black-in-white from most of this book while there is already science in full color. Or, science in a box, while some scientists have already ventured beyond in-the-box thinking.
Surprisingly, the double-slit experiment was better explained near the end of the Audible book by Jim B. Tucker, Return to Life instead of here, by a physicist. The significance of the double-slit experiment to Consciousness was beautifully applied in Jim Tucker's second to last chapter. In Michio Kaku's book The Future of Mind, consciousness is defined simply and is very limited. In another Audible book, My Big TOE author Tom Campbell describes Consciousness in a much broader definition across a trilogy of books, and goes beyond a Physical Matter Reality to describe how PMR is one of many such subsets of a greater Non-Physical Matter Reality, or NPMR.
There are a number of scientists and authors who have spent decades studying Consciousness in a way that goes beyond the brain material that resides in the skull. After being exposed to their books, it feels like looking backward to have listened to this book.
Eben Alexander's book Proof of Heaven does much to refute the very limited consciousness and brain viewpoints espoused in this book by Michio Kaku, And in the audio cd set Seeking Heaven, also with Eben Alexander's input, there are some gracefully and powerfully articulated viewpoints on scientists who are missing the big picture with their mechanistic views on consciousness.
This book seemed so restricted and dismissive in some points of the very real work of scientists researching what materialistic mechanistic reductionist scientists won't deign to examine. Rupert Sheldrakes' audio book Science Set Free would be another I would like to recommend as an examination of this problem in science where skeptical or dismissive scientists limit what they will consider. Other Audible audio books that illustrate science that has been limited or controlled by another factor, money interests, are Salt,Sugar, Fat and The Big Fat Surprise.
Interesting thoughts about the mind
It was a struggle to get through. The narration was absolutely terrible. Zero emotion.
I like Michio Kaku in interviews better than in text. Perhaps if the narration was better I would've enjoyed this more.
Stumbled upon audio books a little while ago and I enjoy them now. I mostly listen to books related to science, Buddhism, and some fantasy.
Dr. Kaku does a good job presenting the latest scientific experiments and research concerning the brain. There are some very good chapters explaining consciousness from a scientific perspective which I found quite insightful. This book is well organized, and maybe a little over simplified. To me it reads as a summary of research papers from the last 5 to 7 years or so. Overall educational for people not in the field.
To this there are some creative viewpoints added here and there to make this book feel somewhat more dynamic to listen to than dry information which is nice.
Narration was a bit flat, but appropriate for the subject matter.
Overall an okay book, may not age very well so if you are thinking of reading it I'd suggest to do it sooner rather than later.
Michio Kaku has written a great book about the brain. He separates the book into different parts. When he is talking about the brain and how far humans have come in understanding the brain, the book is great. When he starts talking about far future events, humans traveling around the universe and humans living forever, many flaws in his reasoning begin to present themselves. For example, he talks about humans living forever as machines, but never brings up the fact that the universe itself is destined for destruction. He explains how the most complex thing in the entire universe is on top of our shoulders, but not even once considers the brain could have design behind it. I'm not saying he should have accepted Jesus Christ in his book, but he takes a rather harsh stance suggesting, religious people and saints of the past were probably suffering mental illness. Even some agnostic people may feel the design philosophy could have been given at least a couple pages. But moving past my only gripe of the book, no one can argue he is a brilliant author, and answers some excellent questions about the future of technology, the brain and even humanity in great detail. I may not agree with his absolute philosophy of random universal events, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Not enough meat.
I love Michio Kaku's stuff, and bought this book reflexively. It isn't bad, but there are other books out there on the brain and behavior that are a little better. I would look at some of Mr. Kaku's earlier works for good popular physics and direct the reader elsewhere for books about the brain and its behaviors. Still, not a bad book at all.
probably not unless it was on sale
too easy to follow
This was a fine listen but it wasn't in depth enough for me to get much more than entertainment out of it. It was just chapter after of "someday we will be able to do this." Entertaining enough to listen to while doing house work or something but not overly educational nor was there any earth shattering predictions.
Dr Kaku's writing is always inspiring and sure to keep the audience engaged. This book is even more special. In it he broadened the discussion beyond quantum physic and cosmology. It's such an art that he can knit seemingly scattered area of interest into one coherent stream of thoughts. Whether one’s interest is in medicine, neurology, biology, computer science, quantum physic or science fiction movie, one would find plenty of enjoyable discussion. While Dr Kaku did not shy in bringing out the philosophical controversy of possible man-made intelligent and conscious mind, nor talk about his personal view on the matter, he succeeded talking about the whole serious issue with lots of candour and humour.
Reading the book, I was entertained, and educated at the same time. Highly recommend!
Jana P. Grammy of 7 boys, Mom of 3 daughters, 1 son Lover of books & better eye sight.
Michio Kaku is one of The most influential and awe inspiring minds today. His manner and style makes his scientific writings easily understood, and thought provoking. This book is a great example of his profound mind and capability to share his knowledge in an easy to grasp manner
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