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Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century Paperback – March 4, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (March 4, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192880187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192880185
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,152,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Take it easy: that's Michio Kaku's motto. Given the extraordinary advances science has thrown up in time for the millennium, the only way you could possibly fit them into a single volume is by a correspondingly massive simplification.

Subtitled How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century and Beyond, Visions assumes that, by and large, scientists get to do whatever they like, that all technologies are consumer technologies, and that consumers welcome anything and everything science throws at them. Kaku gets away with this frankly dodgy strategy by dint of sheer hard work. He has based his predictions on interviews with more than 150 renowned working scientists; he integrates these interviews with a huge body of original journalistic material; and, above all, he roots that mass of information on an entirely reasonable model of what the purpose of science will be in the third millennium. Up until now, science has expended its efforts on decoding most of the fundamental natural processes--"the dance," as Kaku puts it, of elementary particles deep inside stars and the rhythms of DNA molecules coiling and uncoiling within our bodies. Science's task now, Kaku believes, is to cross-pollinate advances thrown up by the study of matter, biology, and mind--modern science's three main theaters of endeavor. "We are now making the transition from amateur chess players to grand masters," he writes, "from observers to choreographers of nature." Then again, he also believes that "the Internet ... will eventually become a 'Magic Mirror' that appears in fairy tales, able to speak with the wisdom of the human race." Kaku, in short, deserves a good slapping--but he also deserves to be read. --Simon Ings, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Here's another entry in the game of predicting what science and technology will come up with after the turn of the millennium, this one from a theoretical physicist. Kaku, author of Hyperspace (1994), defines his central thesis in a few words: We humans are about to make the transition ``from being passive observers of Nature to active choreographers of Nature.'' He forecasts major breakthroughs in three specific areas: computer science, molecular biology, and quantum physics. While all three of these disciplines have already had a significant impact on our daily lives, Kaku finds a broad consensus among scientists, many of whom believe that everything we have seen so far is merely a prelude to what lies in store. In particular, while the development to date of these areas of science has been marked by extreme specialization, the 21st century is likely to be an age of synergy, in which each area builds on the discoveries of the others. On a 20-year time frame, computer chips will become smaller, cheaper, and almost ubiquitous; genetic therapy will have cured many diseases, possibly including most cancers. But beyond that point, it appears that fundamental bottlenecks in both computer science and molecular biology will necessitate new breakthroughs, many of which will derive from quantum physics. This may fuel a new round of technological innovations, among them artificial intelligence (a robot in every home), tailor-made organisms (new foods and medicines), nanotechnology, and new energy sources. Kaku does not ignore the potential downside of these developments, examining such nightmare scenarios as robot killing machines fighting future wars and a revived eugenics movement. But if all goes well, says Kaku, we may well develop into a true planetary society, the first step toward making the entire universe our home. With this fascinating volume, Kaku positions himself as a worthy successor to the late Carl Sagan as a spokesman for the potential of science to revolutionize our lives. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Michio Kaku is the co-founder of String Field Theory and is the author of international best-selling books such as Hyperspace, Visions, and Beyond Einstein. Michio Kaku is the Henry Semat Professor in Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York.

Customer Reviews

Kaku has a way of explaining mind-boggling concepts in a very understandable way.
Michael DeBlasio
I don't know how helpful that was but this is an intriguing book if you, like me, enjoy finding new ways to think about things.
M. Schuster
The Computer Revolution will give us unlimited Computing and Communicating powers.
Joe Walker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 73 people found the following review helpful By D. W. Casey on October 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
Superstring physicist Michio Kaku turns his eyes to the future, and sees many bright developments in the 21st century. What is really remarkable about this book is Kaku's ability to explain in a clear way how the Quantum revolution of the turn of the previous century has dramatically effected, or perhaps invented, the three great revolutions of the 20th century: computers, biotechnology, and quantum physics. Kaku is especially good in outlining his reasons for his view of the future; and gives pretty reasonable timelines for the achievement of certain goals. The book is easy for a layperson to read and understand, and gives a good overview of scientific development. Well worth reading, at times profound.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By T. Hooper on October 15, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michio Kaku, a renowned physicist, attempts to give a view of what to expect from technology and science in the near future. His predictions are based on interviews which he conducted with scientists and engineers from various fields. In making his predictions, he focuses on three fields: computers, biotechnology, and quantum physics.

First of all, please check the publication date of this book. Since this book was published in 1998, some of these predictions have already come true, and others seem a little too optimistic. In fact, while reading the computer section, it reminded me of reading pre-tech bubble Wired magazine. In other words, sometimes overly bubbly and cheery about the wonders of progress, and unwilling to deal with the dark sides of issues. Of the three sections, the one that I found enjoyable was the section on quantum mechanics, which, surprise, happens to be his area of study. I found his discussion about space exploration and cosmic phenomena to be very interesting. On the other hand, the section on computers was a little boring, and the section on biotechnology was OK. Perhaps it would be better to pick up one of Michio Kaku's books on physics rather than this one.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Larry D Blumenthal on January 27, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If the future seems frightening, ominous, perplexing, or in any way stressful to you, then Dr. Michio Kaku has the prescription for your affliction! Anyone who is expecting to intelligently live in the next few decades should be REQUIRED to read these clear and fascinating insights. I think very few human beings have had enough grasp to synthesize the most valid verifiable and truthful frontier information about what is going on at Planet Earth, make it accessibly simple to all of us, and yet be absolutely profound in his message. Knowledge is power. Fear not the future, own it! Buy this book, read it!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Laurence Lazarus on January 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is an easy read and probably begs more questions than it answers. Any one of Prof Kaku's "visions" of life embraced by 21st century technology are thought provoking and I am sure in time will evolve into major books in their own right. Prof Kaku writes about computers, quantum mechanics, DNA, future exploration, medical breakthroughs, longevity, etc. etc., in a manner that is understandable and, at times, breathtaking. I am sure that readers will either like or hate this book, depending upon whether they think the looking glass is either half full or half empty. I liked it and I am looking forward to the sequels.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Eric Bowling on May 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Michio Kaku scores again! Much easier and more accessible than his masterpiece "Hyperspace", "Visions" is a glance into Kaku's crystal ball, as he interprets in a veey scientic way, where technology will lead us in Biotechnology, energy, cybernetics, etc . . . into the 21st century. Holographic Memory. . . Machines made out of atams. . . The electron speed barrier . . . nannotechnology . . .genetic engineering and master cells. . . You'll explore all of these things and a lot more as Michio looks a hundred years or less into the future. This book isn't one of those things that is prognasticating but worthless after a few months. The ideas and concepts that Michio will introduce to you will stay with you for a long time, and you'll think about what our future has to hold for us. I wouldn't have any other guide than Mr. Kaku.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rufus on January 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Visions is an excellent scentific book. A lot of research has gone into it, and he words his findings so that even students can understand. Some of the technologies in this book makes your mind wander and ponder about possibilities. Unlike other scentific books that run along a similar line, he focuses on the topic, rarely gets sidetracked, and keeps it interesting and thought-provoking. I especially enjoyed the final part about the fate of the universe and the different possible technology levels of races and what they are capabable of.I would recommend this book to anyone with even a mild interest in science and technology.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Cengo on January 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Dr. Kaku has done a very good job on explaining the current state of the art in artificial intelligence, biotechnology and quantum physics in a concise manner. He envisions the potential development routes each area might take in the next century. The last part of the book was thrilling. The civilization types concept, superstrings and theory of everything, finally the time travel and wormholes are discussed. I could not put it down until I finished reading this part. Dr. Kaku's survey about science and future puts everything in a perspective. Great work.
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