194 of 205 people found the following review helpful
A Top Physicist Offers His View of the Future,
This review is from: Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 (Hardcover)
I'm a huge fan of Michio Kaku's books, and "The Physics of the Future" is definitely not a disappointment. The book offers an expansive view of future technologies, and takes a new approach: Kaku plays journalist and interviews over 300 other top scientists in a variety of fields. The result is that you get the insights of those experts, but presented though the lens of Kaku's own deep understanding of physics and of what is ultimately likely to be possible or not.
Even though Kaku carefully grounds everything within the limits of the laws of nature, his specific predictions turn out to be pretty aggressive. He foresees technologies like "retinal display" contact lenses that connect directly to the internet, driverless cars, the mixing of real and virtual reality, and software "robotic doctors" that might replace most people's initial visit to the doctor and "correctly diagnose 95% of common ailments."
Kaku is also optimistic about progress in medicine, biotech and nanotechnology suggesting that we'll have medical "tricorders" like the ones on Star Trek, miniature nanobots coursing through our veins, advanced gene therapy, and maybe designer children. He even envisions that aging might be reversed and a nanotechnology "replicator" that would be able to construct almost anything from individual atoms might be possibilities by the year 2100.
Kaku also believe that computers, artificial intelligence and robots will advance rapidly, even though he foresees a possible slow down in the rate of improvement as Moore's Law potentially hits a wall. He's more conservative than people like Ray Kurzweil, suggesting that we might have true artificial intelligence or even conscious machines, but not until the end of the century.
One area where I think Kaku gets it wrong is in his discussion of how all this will impact the job market and the economy. He seems glued to the idea that only very repetitive jobs will be affected, giving factory workers as an example. Yet he talks of robots that will cook and software that will do the jobs of doctors, and might even become conscious. It seems clear that technology like that would be able to do the jobs of millions of people who sit in offices or work in the service industries and pretty much do the same sorts of things over and over again.
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Initial post: Apr 15, 2011 9:15:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 15, 2011 9:23:44 PM PDT
Posted on Apr 18, 2011 11:35:45 AM PDT
I just heard him on Think radio show with Kris Boyd--he was discussing the "driverless car" and explaining how it was in existence and could work even in city traffic--All I could think of was long-haul truckers and FedEx drivers--
their jobs would surely be written off...
as well as many med tech people whose jobs analyzing bio samples will likely be taken over by DNA checking toilets--
I wanted to ask when would be the best time to sell the interests my husband has gained through his work in oil and gas industry. We anticipated those would support a generous retirement and leave a good inheritance for our adult children and possible grandchildren. Yet he said that the costs for fossil fuels and other energy sources will cross in 10 yrs and then the renewable fuels will be more likely to superceed fossil fuels. So I want to know what he thinks about "peak" oil or if that is even a concern for him.
And I agree that if he anticipates ONE World in the near future (like 100 yrs) he has to explain how religious fundamentalists will learn to co-exist with people whose points of view are diametrically opposed to each other.
Posted on May 1, 2011 4:11:35 PM PDT
An Average Joe says:
"One area where I think Kaku gets it wrong is in his discussion of how all this will impact the job market and the economy" Back in the 70's there were futurist discussions on how we would deal with leisure since thanks to technology, we'd all be working 4 hour days or 3 days week. Instead, we've had mass firings, and the few of that manage to hold on work 12 & 18 hour days.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2011 8:48:49 AM PDT
"Simply put, what The Venus Project represents and what The Zeitgeist Movement hence condones, could be summarized as: `The application of The Scientific Method for social concern.'"
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
~ Edmund Burke
It's easy to imagine that what matters in life is the small circle of family, friends, and colleagues surrounding us, and to narrow our focus so as not to detract from the attention we wish to give them. It's harder to imagine how this inner circle is ultimately affected by much wider issues and concerns about the culture as a whole. When we do attend to larger issues, they are entirely, or almost entirely, confined to the political arena as it exists within our present culture. Perspectives which transcend the culture altogether, and propose sweeping, foundational changes to the culture, tend to be summarily dismissed as irrelevant and unconnected with "the real world". In fact, the opposite is true. While we try to keep our careers and personal lives afloat, and lend our support to political movements (or simply empty promises) which involve making various adjustments to the current system, we lose sight of the bigger picture. The fact is that our system is not "broken" -- rather, it is flawed by design. There's nothing we can do to reestablish equilibrium in the economy, because it never existed to begin with. It is not a question of rooting out threats to our economy; our economy IS the problem.
The following films are not merely informative. They are game-changing, world-changing films. Your understanding of human nature, and how environmental conditioning affects the "free will" of individuals, will be utterly transformed and updated. Your belief in what is possible will likewise be radically revised. In light of what you know now (or imagine you know), it must be impossible to suppose that our civilization now has everything needed (in terms of technological advancement) to establish a world in which the material abundance you enjoy may be maintained at approximately 3% of the labor now exerted. Also, that this may be done is such a way as to eliminate, not only labor, but also famine, war, poverty, waste, and environmental collapse. In light of what you know now (or imagine you know), such a concept must seem like an absurd utopian dream, which may at best be attained in some thousand years or so. Well, that's because you haven't seen these films. Instead, you've been listening to the people who are trying to preserve our outmoded system, and the traditional values you've assumed are those which aim to support this system. It's time to open your mind to the possibility of a very different way of seeing the world. All that is necessary is the flexibility to allow your most rigid and deeply ingrained beliefs to be challenged, not by another opinion, but by science.
It is science which will ultimately convince you (if you will only take the time and make the slightest effort to listen objectively) that within a monetary system, which relies on the profit motive, true advances in civilization are not only inhibited, but are actively resisted because they reduce profits. Presently, the well-being of a nation, and its progress, is measured by a country's GDP (Gross Domestic Product), or how much money is being made -- particularly by the richest 1% of the population. But once you understand that money is made by manufacturing needs and desires, and not by satisfying them, you will see how backwards this model is. The healthcare industry makes money, not by curing disease, but by treating it; hence, the more sick people there are, the higher the profits. And this principle may be seen to exist at every level of our economy; not merely in the healthcare industry. In other words, this is not an aberration in the system -- THIS IS THE SYSTEM. And the sickness, suffering, poverty, servitude, oppression, war, and death engendered by this system, and required to maintain this system (which is ultimately doomed to devour itself anyway, because it depends upon an infinite supply of resources; and no such supply exists) are not merely the "facts of life" -- they are not necessary evils with which we must contend. Rather, they are the inevitable by-products of the present system. Moreover, they make the Holocaust look like a wet dream, and Hitler look like a hot date.
You are hereby cordially invited to discover the REAL real world:
Zeitgeist 2: Addendum
Zeitgeist 3: Moving Forward
Future By Design
(Jacque Fresco, modern-day Leonardo Da Vinci)
The Venus Project
Posted on Feb 27, 2012 7:48:04 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 28, 2012 6:50:52 AM PST]
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