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Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100
 
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Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 [Format Kindle]

Michio Kaku
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Extrait

Introduction
Predicting the Next 100 Years

When I was a child, two experiences helped to shape the person I am today and spawned two passions that have helped to define my entire life.

First, when I was eight years old, I remember all the teachers buzzing with the latest news that a great scientist had just died. That night, the newspapers printed a picture of his office, with an unfinished manuscript on his desk. The caption read that the greatest scientist of our era could not finish his greatest masterpiece. What, I asked myself, could be so difficult that such a great scientist could not finish it? What could possibly be that complicated and that important? To me, eventually this became more fascinating than any murder mystery, more intriguing than any adventure story. I had to know what was in that unfinished manuscript.

Later, I found out that the name of this scientist was Albert Einstein and the unfinished manuscript was to be his crowning achievement, his attempt to create a “theory of everything,” an equation, perhaps no more than one inch wide, that would unlock the secrets of the universe and perhaps allow him to “read the mind of God.”

But the other pivotal experience from my childhood was when I watched the Saturday morning TV shows, especially the Flash Gordon series with Buster Crabbe. Every week, my nose was glued to the TV screen. I was magically transported to a mysterious world of space aliens, starships, ray gun battles, underwater cities, and monsters. I was hooked. This was my first exposure to the world of the future. Ever since, I’ve felt a childlike wonder when pondering the future.

But after watching every episode of the series, I began to realize that although Flash got all the accolades, it was the scientist Dr. Zarkov who actually made the series work. He invented the rocket ship, the invisibility shield, the power source for the city in the sky, etc. Without the scientist, there is no future. The handsome and the beautiful may earn the admiration of society, but all the wondrous inventions of the future are a by--product of the unsung, anonymous scientists.

Later, when I was in high school, I decided to follow in the footsteps of these great scientists and put some of my learning to the test. I wanted to be part of this great revolution that I knew would change the world. I decided to build an atom smasher. I asked my mother for permission to build a 2.3-million electron volt particle accelerator in the garage. She was a bit startled but gave me the okay. Then, I went to Westinghouse and Varian Associates, got 400 pounds of transformer steel, 22 miles of copper wire, and assembled a betatron accelerator in my mom’s garage.

Previously, I had built a cloud chamber with a powerful magnetic field and photographed tracks of antimatter. But photographing antimatter was not enough. My goal now was to produce a beam of antimatter. The atom smasher’s magnetic coils successfully produced a huge 10,000 gauss magnetic field (about 20,000 times the earth’s magnetic field, which would in principle be enough to rip a hammer right out of your hand). The machine soaked up 6 kilowatts of power, draining all the electricity my house could provide. When I turned on the machine, I frequently blew out all the fuses in the house. (My poor mother must have wondered why she could not have a son who played football instead.)

So two passions have intrigued me my entire life: the desire to understand all the physical laws of the universe in a single coherent theory and the desire to see the future. Eventually, I realized that these two passions were actually complementary. The key to understanding the future is to grasp the fundamental laws of nature and then apply them to the inventions, machines, and therapies that will redefine our civilization far into the future.

There have been, I found out, numerous attempts to predict the future, many useful and insightful. However, they were mainly written by historians, sociologists, science fiction writers, and “futurists,” that is, outsiders who are predicting the world of science without a firsthand knowledge of the science itself. The scientists, the insiders who are actually creating the future in their laboratories, are too busy making breakthroughs to have time to write books about the future for the public.

That is why this book is different. I hope this book will give an insider’s perspective on what miraculous discoveries await us and provide the most authentic, authoritative look into the world of 2100.

Of course, it is impossible to predict the future with complete accuracy. The best one can do, I feel, is to tap into the minds of the scientists at the cutting edge of research, who are doing the yeoman’s work of inventing the future. They are the ones who are creating the devices, inventions, and therapies that will revolutionize civilization. And this book is their story. I have had the opportunity to sit in the front-row seat of this great revolution, having interviewed more than 300 of the world’s top scientists, thinkers, and dreamers for national TV and radio. I have also taken TV crews into their laboratories to film the prototypes of the remarkable devices that will change our future. It has been a rare honor to have hosted numerous science specials for BBC--TV, the Discovery Channel, and the Science Channel, profiling the remarkable inventions and discoveries of the visionaries who are daring to create the future. Being free to pursue my work on string theory and to eavesdrop on the cutting--edge research that will revolutionize this century, I feel I have one of the most desirable jobs in science. It is my childhood dream come true.

But this book differs from my previous ones. In books like Beyond Einstein, Hyperspace, and Parallel Worlds, I discussed the fresh, revolutionary winds sweeping through my field, theoretical physics, that are opening up new ways to understand the universe. In Physics of the Impossible, I discussed how the latest discoveries in physics may eventually make possible even the most imaginative schemes of science fiction.

This book most closely resembles my book Visions, in which I discussed how science will evolve in the coming decades. I am gratified that many of the predictions made in that book are being realized today on schedule. The accuracy of my book, to a large degree, has depended on the wisdom and foresight of the many scientists I interviewed for it.

But this book takes a much more expansive view of the future, discussing the technologies that may mature in 100 years, that will ultimately determine the fate of humanity. How we negotiate the challenges and opportunities of the next 100 years will determine the ultimate trajectory of the human race.



PREDICTING THE NEXT CENTURY

Predicting the next few years, let alone a century into the future, is a daunting task. Yet it is one that challenges us to dream about technologies we believe will one day alter the fate of humanity.

In 1863, the great novelist Jules Verne undertook perhaps his most ambitious project. He wrote a prophetic novel, called Paris in the Twentieth Century, in which he applied the full power of his enormous talents to forecast the coming century. Unfortunately, the manuscript was lost in the mist of time, until his great--grandson accidentally stumbled upon it lying in a safe where it had been carefully locked away for almost 130 years. Realizing what a treasure he had found, he arranged to have it published in 1994, and it became a best seller.

Back in 1863, kings and emperors still ruled ancient empires, with impoverished peasants performing backbreaking work toiling in the fields. The United States was consumed by a ruinous civil war that would almost tear the country apart, and steam power was just beginning to revolutionize the world. But Verne predicted that Paris in 1960 would have glass skyscrapers, air conditioning, TV, elevators, high--speed trains, gasoline--powered automobiles, fax machines, and even something resembling the Internet. With uncanny accuracy, Verne depicted life in modern Paris.

This was not a fluke, because just a few years later he made another spectacular prediction. In 1865, he wrote From the Earth to the Moon, in which he predicted the details of the mission that sent our astronauts to the moon more than 100 years later in 1969. He accurately predicted the size of the space capsule to within a few percent, the location of the launch site in Florida not far from Cape Canaveral, the number of astronauts on the mission, the length of time the voyage would last, the weightlessness that the astronauts would experience, and the final splashdown in the ocean. (The only major mistake was that he used gunpowder, rather than rocket fuel, to take his astronauts to the moon. But liquid-fueled rockets wouldn’t be invented for another seventy years.)

How was Jules Verne able to predict 100 years into the future with such breathtaking accuracy? His biographers have noted that, although Verne was not a scientist himself, he constantly sought out scientists, peppering them with questions about their visions of the future. He amassed a vast archive summarizing the great scientific discoveries of his time. Verne, more than others, realized that science was the engine shaking the foundations of civilization, propelling it into a new century with unexpected marvels and miracles. The key to Verne’s vision and profound insights was his grasp of the power of science to revolutionize society.

Another great prophet of technology was Leonardo da Vinci, painter, thinker, and visionary. In the late 1400s, he drew beautiful, accurate diagrams of machines that would one day fill the skies: sketches of parachutes, helicopters, hang gliders, and even airplanes. Remarkably, many of his inventions would have flown. (His flying machines, howe...

Revue de presse

The year 2100 that Kaku predicts in his ambitious new book is filled with gadgets like internet-connected contact lenses...It is packed with scholarship and is quite readable for the work of a scientist (Jonathan Margolis Mail on Sunday )

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3 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Malentendu à l'achat : j'attendais un livre plus fondamental sur les grandes tendances. Ce livre relève plus de l'actualité scientifique et son intérêt diminue pour moi exponentiellement avec le temps.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  279 commentaires
199 internautes sur 210 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Top Physicist Offers His View of the Future 16 mars 2011
Par Steve T - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
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.
102 internautes sur 115 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Fabulous Look at the Future 20 mars 2011
Par Book Shark - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku

"Physics of the Future" is a fabulous, thought-provoking, engaging and accessible book on the physics of the future. What sets this book apart, is Dr. Kaku's prodigious knowledge and his innate ability to convey complex topics in an engaging conversational manner. This fantastic 416-page book is composed of the following nine chapters: 1. Future of the Computer: Mind over Matter, 2. Future of AI: Rise of the Machines, 3. Future of Medicine: Perfection and Beyond, 4. Nanotechnology: Everything from Nothing?, 5. Future of Energy: Energy from the Stars, 6. Future of Space Travel: To the Stars, 7. Future of Wealth, 8. Future of Humanity: Planetary Civilization, and 9. A Day in the Life in 2100.

Positives:
1. Engaging scientific writing for the masses. Dr. Kaku gets it and he knows how to relay his knowledge in a lucid and entertaining manner.
2. Great format. Each chapter begins with a couple of chapter appropriate quotes, an appetizer of an introduction (with a little mythology analogy for good measure) and then broken out by three subchapters: Near Future (Present to 2030), Midcentury (2030 to 2070), and Far Future (2070 to 2100).
3. Great use of popular culture to make his points easy to convey. The use of popular Sci-Fi movies to explain complex concepts is brilliant.
4. A fantastic idea of a book and I couldn't be happier that Dr. Kaku is the mastermind behind it. Great wisdom throughout.
5. Great science for all to enjoy. The future looks fascinating.
6. Finally, a fun, profound yet accessible book about physics of the future.
7. This book is like the behind the scenes look at the science behind the best Sci-Fi movies ever. Excellent!
8. The best way to predict the future is to consult the greatest minds, the subject matter experts and Dr. Kaku does exactly that.
9. How the four fundamental forces changed human history.
10. The future of Moore's law.
11. Our minds will control computers...just make sure husbands get this technology before the wives do.
12. Will robots inherit the earth? Only if they're fembots but I digress.
13. Fascinating look at why brains are superior to computers. I think.
14. Optogenetics...optowhat? Read and find out. I see.
15. Punctuated equilibrium best describes the way in which progress is made.
16. The fascinating future of medicine. You shall be healed.
17. We must clone Dr. Kaku.
18. Designer children, too late for me...
19. I want to be a geneticist...
20. "The quantum theory has one thing going for it: it is correct." Love that quote.
21. Nanotechnology...no small feat.
22. Energy saving ideas. Like you've never seen before. Powerful stuff.
23. Global warming...the topic just keeps heating up. Great explanation.
24. Space technology is far out!
25. The number 25,000 has a totally new significance to me. You can count on it.
26. New propulsion systems considered. It's not like it's rocket science...oh wait it is.
27. Science and technology are the engines of prosperity. NEMA.
28. The rise of intellectual capitalism. My two cents.
29. The importance of using science for the good of our planet.
30. Dr. Kaku does a wonderful job of tying everything together with an amusing story.
31. Great list of notes and a recommended reading list that has my attention.
32. Fascinating book from cover to cover.

Negatives:
1. Links didn't work.
2. Some folks, particular those in the science field, may object to the book being "dumbed" down. I have no complaints since the book was meant for the masses.
3. Having to wait for Mr. Kaku's next book.

In summary, this book is a real treat. I absolutely loved it. Great science, interesting facts, and a fascinating look at the future. Dr. Kaku is such an engaging, brilliant man; he tackles an ambitious project like this and succeeds on all accounts. This is the reason why I love science and this is the reason I enjoy reading books. I can't recommend this book enough. A well deserved 5-star book. Bravo!
263 internautes sur 326 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 I'm a big fan of Michio, so I'm even more disappointed by this book 19 mars 2011
Par JPS - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
First, I'm a big fan of Michio, which is why I purchased the book. But I've noticed a frustrating pattern with his books over the years, he dumbs down the concepts he writes about more and more with each book. Okay, I get it, speaking to the lowest common denominator is important to get your message across. But remember, Michio, you need to speak to the lowest common denominator of people who read books about physics. Unfortunately, this seems to be lost on Michio. This book barely even covers any physics until the second half of the book, and even then the book is mostly about implementations of technology. I estimate that 80% the first 2/5 of the book covers medicine, genetics and other life sciences concepts.

But what is perhaps most disappointing about this book, is Michio's fantastic underestimation of how fast our technology will progress in the coming years. (In order to avoid spoilers I will try to speak in generalities for the most part) In the introduction to the book, Michio clearly explains that "prototypes of all the technologies mentioned...already exist". Fine, it's great that Michio had the best intentions by making predictions based on "real" and "tangible" examples. Unfortunately what ends up happening is that Michio predicts with awe and reverence how, for example, 30 to 70 years from now "augmented reality" will be accessible to everyone, and the examples he gives for how augmented reality will change our lives are just, well, boring, trite, and seriously underestimate the power of this concept. How do I know? Because I (along with many thousands of other iphone and android users) have been using augmented reality apps on my phone for the last couple of years that are far more interesting and powerful in how they impact my life than what Michio predicts will occur in 30 to 70 years. I was reading his predictions thinking, "wow, has Michio even researched what's happening in augmented reality TODAY?" I'm sure some people who have read the book will disagree with my point here, but keep in mind that he focused the entire section of the book on the impact of augmented reality in the next 30 to 70 years, but augmented reality is happening today. The only thing that hasn't is the methods of delivery he describes (I don't want to be specific to avoid spoilers).

Another thing that frustrates me lately about Michio is his increasing trend towards predicting the limitations of certain technologies; but with poor logic. For instance, he likes to pontificate about the "death of Moore's law" and the "limitations of aritificial intelligence", but seems to repeatedly underestimate the power of compounding, exponential growth of technology and information, and creative solutions that even he might not be aware of. For instance, when considering artificial intelligence, Michio seems to only consider the "innate" local intelligence of computers (or even robots), and doesn't tip his hat to the fact that 1) we already live in a completely networked society, so the intelligence computers are NOT capped by power of their local transistors, but by the intelligence of ALL computers everywhere, collectively. I'm not a supporter of "spontaneous" intelligence arising from connected machines, but I do think that it's relevant to consider the growth of networked computers when considering the limitations of computing power; 2) unlike *people* who, when they die, leave all of their accumulated knowledge behind, computers will pass their aggregate memes, learning experiences, nuances and vast store of memories from one generation of machines to the next. It seems that Michio's idea of robots and computers is similar to the AI from the movies in the 1950s through 1990s: when a robot dies, their memories die with them... That hasn't been the case since computers have existed, and it's silly to think that as progress is made with AI that each successive generation of artificial intelligence will have to start all over again on the learning curve. Clearly, they will have the ability to pick up right where the last generation left off without any information lost. and 3) the rapidly convergence of technologies is already negating the importance of Moore's law which predicts the rate at which transistors can be sqeezed onto integrated circuits, and how price will decrease accordingly. He places waaaay too much importance on the death of Moore's law. It really doesn't matter if Moore's law doesn't continue to hold true after the year 2020 because we can continue to receive exponential benefits from technology and information from an infinite number of other technological advancements. Software today is so inefficient that the potential benefits from software improvements alone are staggering. From Michio's perspective, however, Moore's prediction about the efficiency and price-performance of transistors will limit are technological progress after the year 2020. Predicting the death of this linear growth without considering how other converging technologies will make Moore's law irrelevant is incredibly short-sighted. Let's assume Moore's law does break down in 2020. Scientists (and big business) will look to other areas to pick up the slack: improved software, massively parallel processing, cloud computing, grid computing, solid state hard drives, quantum computing, etc. the sum total impact of all of these things trumps linear advancements in raw (local) computing power from shrinking transistors.

I'm disappointed because there were so many other things Michio could have focused on besides medicine and genetic engineering. Those topics are interesting, but they didn't get the treatment they deserved in a book called "Physics of the Future", written by a physicist. I couldn't believe how much Michio focused on biology, all the while missing a perfect opportunity to discuss synthetic biology and the convergence of nanotech with biology. He barely skimmed this topic, and spent chapters on genetic engineering. Interesting, but not physics.

As for his predictions on the impact of technology on capitalism, I think he should stick to physics. Our concepts about the "enterprise" and how individuals provide value in exchange for compensation are already starting to change, and this will only accelerate and compound in the years to come.

I don't want to sound like sour grapes because I actually really like Michio and I (usually) enjoy reading his books, but I have to say I'm disappointed with the simple-speak in this book. Michio spent way too much time talking about commercial technologies that have nothing to do with physics, and not enough time talking about many other interesting and speculative areas pf physics that might bring completely new technologies to fruition in the next 100 years. For that reason among others, I have a hard time recommending this book.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Can reading Physics be this much FUN - Yes it can - Five Stars 2 avril 2011
Par Richad of Connecticut - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Author Michio Kaku is a national treasure. He is one of those fascinating people that somehow manages to make the unthinkable, thinkable, and therein lays the magic of the man. From writing several scientific best sellers to narrating award winning television shows on physics, he is able to get the rest of us to understand some very difficult and counter intuitive concepts in a fun and highly interesting sort of way, and for that we are in his debt.

This, his latest book is a spellbinding 369 page journey through 9 chapters of what he believes will be the future of physics. His recommended reading list at the back of the book is worth the price of the book by itself. If you are into science, it represents a who's who of science today.

Kaku has taken his reputation which is considerable as one of the co-developers of "string theory", and used it to consult with 300 prominent physicists and scientists throughout the world to seek out their opinions on what the future of physics will be like. From entrepreneur genius Ray Kurzweil who is one of the smartest people alive to intelligence and geopolitical thinker George Friedman, don't go to sleep reading this book, because you will find yourself staying awake pouring through it. Just scan the titles of the nine chapters covered and you will know what a treat you are in for:

Chapter 1 Computers

Chapter 2 Artificial Intelligence

Chapter 3 Medicine

Chapter 4 Nanotechnology

Chapter 5 Energy

Chapter 6 Space Travel

Chapter 7 Wealth

Chapter 8 Humanity

Chapter 9 A Day in the Life in 2100

Each chapter built on the previous chapter, and idea spawned idea as the author weaved a very interesting narrative of mankind's future built on physics. Kaku also takes us through the technology that will be spon off into products unimaginable today in our everyday life, but will be reasonable based upon where we are today, and what we can achieve in the balance of this century.

Kaku is adamant that we must have a firm understanding of the building blocks of the physics of the past in order to build upon the strong foundation we currently have to make correct leaps into the future. He used Jules Verne the novelist as an example of what we must strive to do. Verne amassed a vast library of both books and an archive of articles published during his lifetime of what scientists thought the future would bring, and how invention after invention would unfold.

Verne then based his futuristic and highly popular novels on that archive, and made very interesting speculations as to what would happen over the next hundred years, most of which proved accurate. Kaku also spent considerable efforts exploring Leonardo da Vinci's work, and even came across a couple of startling new notions about da Vinci. Only recently in our time, 1967 to be precise did historians find a new but misplaced manuscript by the painter of the Mona Lisa. In the manuscript Leonardo lays out the creation of an adding machine. Technologists then proceeded to build a working model of the machine from Leonardo's detailed description, and it worked. We are 600 years away from da Vinci lifetime, and yet his creations have transcended time.

Conclusion

If you have a deep interest in science and physics, and do not have the time to get deeply into the math which can be heavy, it is my suggestion that you treat yourself to this wonderful read, by this very powerful author who has made substantial theoretical contributions to his subject in his own right. You will not be disappointed, and thank you for reading this review.

Richard C. Stoyeck
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Glib and Overly Optimistic 17 août 2011
Par Jiang Xueqin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
In "Physics of the Future," Michio Kaku provides us with glimpses of the near and long futures with a simplistic, perhaps overly simplistic, writing style. It is, as is usual coming from the mind of a scientist, an extremely optimistic and glowing portrait of humanity's inevitable march of technological progress, with very little concern or thought put into the wild contradictions of modernity, how the forces of free market capitalism, democracy, environmental degradation, etc. will play out. Scientists do not live in a bubble, and if the world is at war or swept up by revolution then science cannot function. I think there's equal chance that humanity will be living in the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse 100 years from now as it will be living in technological splendor.
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Without emotions, everything has the same value, and we become paralyzed by endless decisions, all of which have the same weight. &quote;
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The key to understanding the future is to grasp the fundamental laws of nature and then apply them to the inventions, machines, and therapies that will redefine our civilization far into the future. &quote;
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