Well, this book has given me LOTS to talk and think about. And opened up even more scientific subjects that I want to explore.
Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist, and Physics of the Future is a book of his educated guesses as to where technology and science will take us within the next 100 years. In the beginning he does mention that nobody can make 100% accurate predictions for the future, and he does list his basis for making this assumptions – that the prototypes for these technologies already exist, that he was able to interview hundreds of other scientists about their work, and that all of the science mentioned in the book is completely in line with the laws of physics and forces of nature. The biggest obstacle in a lot of these technologies coming to pass is ourselves – what we’re willing to fund, and whether we accept or reject new technology.
So, what does the future look like? Awesome. Honestly, I’ve always been the “I hope I’m long gone by the time ____ happens” type, but this book makes me actually feel really excited and hopeful for the future. The chapters are divided by subject matter and are as follows: computers, artificial intelligence, medicine, nanotechnology, energy, space travel, wealth, humanity, and finally a hypothetical look at what a day in 2100 will look like. Each ones delves into the current innovations being explored, and makes predictions for each field in the near future, mid-century, and late-century.
I can see a lot of Kaku’s other predictions coming to pass, and I LOVED learning about all of the new advances that are being made. The medicine & nanotechnology chapters was intensely interesting, and I especially loved learning about the advances being made to fight cancer with nanoparticles. (Actually I looked it up online and read this article on ABC News that the first round of human trials just completed, with a very promising outlook.) My other favorite chapter was probably the one on energy, in which he explores the technologies that scientists are experimenting with to find new, less wasteful sources of energy. Learning about the work they’re doing with fusion and the search for a room-temperature superconductor was especially exciting. Also, fans of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series: He discusses the possibility and probablity of bringing back extinct animals, such as the dodo. Who am I kidding, I found just about everything in this book fascinating.
Do I think that wall screens connected to a personalized robot are going to become the norm? No. Not because the technology won’t pan out, but because as a society I think it’s just not something we’ll accept. Our technology is getting smaller and smaller, which is why I do buy his claim that we’ll all have contact lenses or glasses that connect us to the internet. These are already in the making actually, you can watch the video on Youtube. I also don’t think that robots are going to be as widespread – maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want a robot to cook my food or do my cleaning. I trust myself to do those things more, and enjoy doing them myself. And as Michio Kaku points out himself, scientists are having trouble getting robots to do things that require common sense and complete awareness and recognition of their surroundings. Also, the pessimist in me is pretty sure that pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and doctors won’t allow some of the things he predicts for the future of medicine because they’re too greedy and would lose way too much money.
Maybe I’m just a giant nerd, but this book was SO interesting and really fun to read. I just want to talk to everybody I know about the ideas discussed in this book. And don’t worry about getting bogged down with too many technical terms – Kaku writes in pretty easy layman language, and he kept me engaged. His passion for science was obvious and brimming with hope and enthusiasm, and it was infectious. Also, the dude is in love with Star Trek. Seriously, Star Trek is his JAM, he brought it up pretty often to help explain things or illustrate his point. He did a good job at giving examples.
So, give Physics of the Future a try. You can decide for yourself which of his predictions you agree with and which you don’t. It’s fun. At the very least, you’ll be able look smart in front of your friends while reading it, right? Okay, I’m done rambling now. Someone just please read this book now so I have someone to discuss it with, hmmm? I mean look, it made me go crazy with the bold font. That’s real excitement there.
Sarah Says: 4 stars