- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (February 17, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307473341
- ISBN-13: 978-0307473349
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 694 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind Reprint Edition
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Facts to ponder: there are as many stars in our galaxy (about 100 billion) as there are neurons in your brain; your cell phone has more computing power than NASA had when it landed Apollo 11 on the moon. These seemingly unrelated facts tell us two things: our brains are magnificently complex organisms, and science fiction has a way of becoming reality rather quickly. This deeply fascinating book by theoretical physicist Kaku explores what might be in store for our minds: practical telepathy and telekinesis; artificial memories implanted into our brains; and a pill that will make us smarter. He describes work being done right now on using sensors to read images in the human brain and on downloading artificial memories into the brain to treat victims of strokes and Alzheimer’s. SF fans might experience a sort of breathless thrill when reading the book—This stuff is happening! It’s really happening!—and for general readers who have never really thought of the brain in all its glorious complexity and potential, the book could be a seriously mind-opening experience. --David Pitt --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Praise for The Future of the Mind, #1 New York Times Bestseller
“Compelling…Kaku thinks with great breadth, and the vistas he presents us are worth the trip”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Intriguing….extraordinary findings…A fascinating sprint through everything from telepathy research to the 147,456 processors of the Blue Gene computer, which has been used to simulate 4.5% of the brain’s synapses and neurons”
“Fizzes with his characteristic effervescence….Fascinating….. For all his talk of surrogates and intelligent robots, no manufactured being could have a fraction of his charisma.”
“A mind-bending study of the possibilities of the brain....a clear and readable guide to what is going on at a time of astonishingly rapid change.”
“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”
“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.”
“Facts to ponder: there are as many stars in our galaxy (about 100 billion) as there are neurons in your brain; your cell phone has more computing power than NASA had when it landed Apollo 11 on the moon. These seemingly unrelated facts tell us two things: our brains are magnificently complex organisms, and science fiction has a way of becoming reality rather quickly. This deeply fascinating book by theoretical physicist Kaku explores what might be in store for our minds: practical telepathy and telekinesis; artificial memories implanted into our brains; and a pill that will make us smarter. He describes work being done right now on using sensors to read images in the human brain and on downloading artificial memories into the brain to treat victims of strokes and Alzheimer’s. SF fans might experience a sort of breathless thrill when reading the book—This stuff is happening! It’s really happening!—and for general readers who have never really thought of the brain in all its glorious complexity and potential, the book could be a seriously mind-opening experience.”
Praise for Physics of the Future
"[A] wide-ranging tour of what to expect from technological progress over the next century or so.... fascinating—and related with commendable clarity"--Wall Street Journal
"Mind-bending........Kaku has a gift for explaining incredibly complex concepts, on subjects as far-ranging as nanotechnology and space travel, in language the lay reader can grasp....engrossing"--San Francisco Chronicle
"Epic in its scope and heroic in its inspiration"--Scientific American
"[Kaku] has the rare ability to take complicated scientific theories and turn them into readable tales about what our lives will be like in the future.....fun...fascinating. And just a little bit spooky"--USA Today
Praise for Physics of the Impossible
"An invigorating experience"
-The Christian Science Monitor
“Kaku's latest book aims to explain exactly why some visions of the future may eventually be realized while others are likely to remain beyond the bounds of possibility. . . . Science fiction often explores such questions; science falls silent at this point. Kaku's work helps to fill a void.”—The Economist
“Mighty few theoretical physicists would bother expounding some of these possible impossibilities, and Kaku is to be congratulated for doing so. . . . [He gets] the juices of future physicists flowing.”—Los Angeles Times
Top customer reviews
Book 1: The Mind and the Consciousness
- I'm not a bio or psych person, so my eyes glazed over at parts. This was one of the tougher sections to get through.
- I didn't realize that we were supposed to have been evolved from reptiles before mammals.
- Kaku goes into detail on how MRIs work and how they've been used, as well as the EEG scan, PET scan, and other similar technologies.
- While it's awesome to think that technology can help control people with Parkinson's disease (and other similar symptoms and issues), it is scary to think that PEOPLE may be controlled in the future for no other reason than...control.
- The idea of split-brains is terrifying but interesting.
- It was pretty neat to read about the differences between levels of consciousness between species.
Book 2: Mind Over Matter
-There are many studies being done on telepathy, which still requires machines and other forces. One invention from the studies is thought-to-text computers. Soon(ish) there may be telepathy helmets and handheld MRI devices.
- I am very glad Kaku brought up the ethics concern, especially since he detailed Dr. Miguel Nicolelis' thoughts on brain-nets. They are frightening and terrify me for the status of the future). However, advances have already helped paraplegics which is awesome.
- What is also scary is the thought of downloading memories and not knowing what is real or what is fake.
- Kaku talks about how the brain fragments information into different categories to develop memories.
- It's amazing to think of the number of medical/science advances that have occurred in just the past 5 years, let alone the past 30. Like creating artificial parts of the brain. I knew about it, but not of the details.
- The brain can adapt to learn intelligence. Intelligence and success are not necessarily inclusive. Standardized tests need to also measure levels of divergent thinking, since that often leads to greater personal success. It's fascinating to think of the possible ways to modify future tests. This was thought of in the 1940s, but it took over 60 years for education to catch up.
Book 3: Altered Consciousness
- Dreams may not be random events but a key to understanding altered consciousnesses (and dreams are essential for survival, which I never realized).
- It is very interesting to read how the brain behaves while dreaming. Soon we may be able to videotape dreams, which is awesome. Being able to enter another person's though isn't.
- Kaku speaks of mind control studies - including the fact that the Soviet Union banned lobotomies while the U.S. was still performing them.
- He also brings up the connections between some mental illnesses (which alter states of consciousness) and hyper-religiosity. As a Christian, I found this to be particularly interesting.
- Currently with AI, machines do what we tell them. But when may they acquire self-awareness? No time soon since that requires pattern recognition and common sense, but I'm amazed at how many people are working towards this. WHY?!?! These things are NOT our natural children and when our kids take over, they don't destroy the world since they're able to reason. No. Just no. Also, the thought of robot ethics and rights are ridiculous to me.
- I love the thought that you can't succeed without emotions and a value system.
- There are many around the world are working on duplicating the brain to tackle brain disorders.
- Kaku explained how mixed signals between the eye and inner ear can cause disorientation, which is what causes motion sickness. I didn't know that before! that is quite entertaining.
- There is a lot of physics at the end, which was fun for me. He used it to describe possible futures of consciousness.
Kaku also explains different viewpoints on existence and multiple universes. It's quite interesting and I enjoyed the conclusion.
“Models are useful, until they are replaced by even more accurate models described by better parameters.” – page 43
“Consciousness is the process of creating a model of the world using multiple feedback loops in various parameters […] in order to accomplish a goal […].” – page 43
“Your grades in school, your scores on the SAT, mean less for life success than your capacity to co-operate, your ability to regulate your emotions, your capacity to delay your gratification, and your capacity to focus your attention. Those skills are far more important—all the data indicate—for life success than your IQ or your grades.” – page 137 (Dr. Richard Davidson)
“It is the perversion of the ordinary that elicits the greatest fear.” – page 226
“We are a scientific civilization….That means a civilization in which knowledge and its integrity are crucial. Science is only a Latin word for knowledge….Knowledge is our destiny.” – page 266 (Jacob Bronowski)
For example, in one section he discusses AI developments, noting that most AI-like robots today (like Honda's ASIMO) replay a pre-programmed sequence of actions (which he keeps comparing to an analog tape player - not a good sign). Mr. Kaku takes effort to point out that this is not the same as true AI, and has generally lead to much frustration and stagnation in the field. Instead, he points out, researchers have changed tracks and have been using nature as a model to let the machines learn for themselves. A few pages later, Mr. Kaku then starts discussing future AI personalities which would be programmed in advance and made available as a catalog, completely ignoring his earlier insight that this path is completely at odds with nature's system and the current trend in designing neural networks which can learn for themselves.
He also completely misses the point on Moore's Law. Mr. Kaku correctly establishes the basics, but then assumes that computational power is directly correlated with transistor counts, which is a very short-sighted view considering recent computing history. The GPU was completely unforeseen and had was a simpler physical design than some of it's multiple-chip competitors at the time, but a much more sophisticated design which opened up many more possibilities than a traditional "put more circuits on the board" approach would allow.