Michio Kaku’s ‘Physics of the Future’ has very little to do with physics, instead, it’s focus is on new-age technology and how it’s going to affect us over the next century.
The book’s main message is to make sure that we don’t underestimate the speed at which technology can advance, much like IBM’s former, and late, chairman Thomas J. Watson, who in 1943 famously said, ‘I think there is a world market for maybe five computers’.
Its main themes include augmented reality, a newly revolutionised medicine industry, private-space companies and nanotechnology.
One of Kaku strongest beliefs is that the development of Augmented reality will be the next decade’s most prominent advancement. Seen at an almost rudimentary level with smartphones and in a slightly more advanced form with the Google Glass and Microsoft’s Hololens, Kaku predicts that it will be possible for a much denser information stream to directly lead to our retinas, through either contact lenses or optical lenses. These devices will help us to fix problems, build things and even translate our speech when we’re speaking to someone in another language.
Whilst this isn’t too far left a theory to get behind, Kaku’s predictions about medicine might take a little more getting used to. Equipped with bathroom sensors, Kaku believes that they’ll be able to warn doctors of impending medical issues, allowing people to get preventative care before it’s too late.
If this were to happen it could drastically increase survival rates across some of the most fatal diseases. For example, if caught early, more than 9 out of 10 bowel cancer patients survive the disease for at least 5 years and this a trend seen across many of the other strands of the disease. Due to this, if Kaku’s prediction were to come to fruition, it could have a major impact on society and the capacity of doctors to diagnose patients quicker.
The emergence of space-travel companies like Virgin Galactic sits well with Kaka and he believes that one day we’ll ‘colonize’ the solar system, changing Mars so that its climate is similar to Earth’s. Again, this seems quite farfetched, but when you consider Thomas J. Watson’s comments, made only 72 years ago, it’s obvious that it’s difficult to frame technological advancement within the context of what we know now.
Although it’s a cliché, who could have predicted that we’d be where we are today in terms of technology 100 years ago? We look at Thomas J. Watson’s comments and think they are stupid, but lest we forget, he was head of one of the world’s biggest technology companies, meaning that his opinion at the time would have held considerable weight.
It’s an excellent book, especially if you’re new to futuristic theories. Don’t pay too much attention to the cover, this book’s not a sci-fi novel and it’s quite likely that a few of Kaku’s predictions will come good by 2100.