Physics of the Future: The Inventions That Will Transform Our Lives
Kaku (Michio)
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Authors Citing this Book: Kaku (Michio)


BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Book Description

  1. Michio Kaku's Physics of the Future: The Inventions that will Transform our Lives is a hypothetical journey through the next 100 years of scientific innovation, as told by the scientists who are making it happen.
  2. We all wish we could predict the future, but most of us don't know enough about the science that makes it possible. That's why Michio Kaku decided to talk to the people who really know - the visionaries who are already inventing the future in their labs.
  3. Based on interviews with over three hundred of the world's top scientists, Kaku gives us an insider's perspective on the revolutionary advances that mean we'll soon be able to take an elevator into space, access the internet via our contact lenses, scan our DNA for signs of disease and even change the shape of objects - and all still within the laws of known physics.
  4. This isn't just the shape of things to come - as Kaku shows, it's already happening.

Amazon Customer Review
  1. Just about any invention is possible, provided it does not violate the laws of physics. What are these laws? The first force is gravity, which holds us down to the ground and stops the sun exploding and the planets of the solar system flying apart. The second is electromagnetism that allows us to light up our cities and for you to read this review on a computer. The third and fourth are strong and weak nuclear forces that literally hold the atoms and ourselves together. This actually allows us to do rather a lot, as Kaku shows in this book.
  2. The chapters are divided into examining the future of the computer, artificial intelligence1, medicine, nanotechnology, energy, space travel and wealth. Each chapter is scoped to anticipate developments in the near future (i.e. to 2030), the intermediate (2030 to 2070) and the far future (2070 to 2100). By the end of the century he envisages unlimited information, accessed without having to log on to a computer, a plethora of robots undertaking all manner of tasks, automatic cars that can float on superconductors, fusion power, microscopic robots that can kill cancer. Even the ageing process may be slowed or conquered altogether. Unlike Star Trek though, humanity will remain Earth bound. Tiny robot probes may be sent to survey the local region of our galaxy instead.
  3. Some innovations are beginning to take shape now. Human organs have been grown in a laboratory. After many false starts and high profile hoaxes, prototype fusion reactors have been developed. The book concludes with a day in the life survey of an inhabitant of New York on 1 Jan 2100. He is 71 years old but looks 30. He has had new organs grown from scratch after suffering a serious skiing accident and drives automatic cars that levitate above the ground and takes a trip up a space elevator.
  4. If this all sounds too fantastical, and sounds like an example of moon-eyed technology worship, then rest assured. Kaku is aware that science is a double-edged sword. The ethical and social implications of various developments are considered. He is sceptical for instance that we can ever build a robot that is fully conscious. What even the most sophisticated robot lacks is an ability to learn. In this respect, a cockroach is smarter than any robot. But robots can and will be developed to enable them to do highly complex, specialized tasks, in the home and in the workplace. However, the further into the future Kaku peers, the more speculative his predictions become.
  5. But on what basis does he make such predictions anyway? From talking to over 300 experts in their various fields. So although this book is speculation, it is well-informed and interesting speculation.
  6. The drawback in that inevitably in a book covering so many fields is that the coverage of the different topics can be superficial. This is no surprise. Given that the author spoke to over 300 experts, he had to make choices to compress his material down to manageable dimensions and make the content comprehensible to a lay audience, too. Neither is he an accomplished stylist on scale of Carl Sagan. Having said that, I think that he still does an admirable job of outlining the sorts of innovations we can expect to see over the next decades in language intelligible to those who do not have a background in science.
  7. This is not an inspirational book but it is an interesting one. For those of you who are curious as to what the future might hold (who isn't?) then the book is worth a read.

BOOK COMMENT:

Penguin (1 Mar 2012)



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