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Physics of the Future

How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

By Michio Kaku
21-minute read
Audio available
Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

Physics of the Future (2011) lays out predictions of future technology based on the works and opinions of experts on the cutting edge of physics, genetics, biology and computer science. The author explores some of the hurdles we will have to overcome in order to develop these future technologies, and what fundamental changes we can expect their presence to make on our society.

  • Anyone interested in cutting-edge science
  • Anyone interested in future technologies
  • Anyone interested in the future of humanity
  • Anyone with a great imagination

Michio Kaku, co-founder of the string field theory and professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, is the author of a number of best-selling books, including Hyperspace and Physics of the Impossible. In addition, he also hosts the Science Channel’s Sci Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible along with two radio programs, Explorations in Science and Science Fantastic.

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Physics of the Future

How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

By Michio Kaku
  • Read in 21 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 14 key ideas
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Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku
Synopsis

Physics of the Future (2011) lays out predictions of future technology based on the works and opinions of experts on the cutting edge of physics, genetics, biology and computer science. The author explores some of the hurdles we will have to overcome in order to develop these future technologies, and what fundamental changes we can expect their presence to make on our society.

Key idea 1 of 14

We can make predictions of future technologies based on observations of current technological trends.

When meteorologists tell us that it will rain tomorrow, they are making a prediction based on today's weather patterns, which they use as their point of reference.

In the same way, we can look at trends in technology today to make predictions about tomorrow.

Some technologies evolve with a very distinct pattern in their development. In the world of computers, for example, we’ve observed that computing power grows by the same factor over a period of time, following a trend called exponential growth. More specifically, computing power has doubled every 18 months since the invention of the microchip. Scientists call this observation Moore’s Law.

One of the consequences of the exponential growth of computer power has been a constant decline in production costs, due to manufacturers’ ability to simply tinker with the same production process. Today computer chips have become so cheap they are even disposable.

To illustrate how drastic this exponential growth is, consider this: that singing birthday card you threw away had more computing power than the entire Allied Forces during World War II, at only a tiny fraction of the cost.

Since we know at what rate computing power increases and production costs decrease, we can, like the weatherman, use today’s trends to predict the future of technology. Moore’s Law provides us with a guide to help us reckon when computers will be powerful enough to make certain future technologies possible.

For example, if we want to know when it would be possible to make a universal translator that would allow us to communicate with anyone in any language, we must first divide it into its component technologies, such as a text scanner and language processor. We can use Moore’s Law to figure out when each component technology will be ready, and when the integration of these technologies will be possible, and therefore when the device might be ready for market. In this way, we can predict the future based on the technological trends of today.

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