Rating

9

Qualities


Recommendation

Michio Kaku is the lay reader’s dream – an accomplished scientist who communicates intricate concepts in a way anyone can comprehend. In his book, Kaku offers a deeply researched study of the technologies that will create society’s future. He tackles everything from computer screens on contact lenses to magnetic levitation, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology. To keep his treatise reader-friendly, he brings in examples from Greek mythology, Star Trek and the Terminator movies. At times Kaku seems a bit too optimistic about the gee-whiz direction of the world, which he believes eventually will be free of cancer, car crashes and the ravages of aging. But he does temper some of his predictions: He points out the limits of stem cells and artificial intelligence, and he notes the dangers of global warming. getAbstract recommends his analysis to readers seeking an erudite but easy-to-digest survey of the innovations shaping the future.

Summary

Predicting the Future with Science as a Guide

Predicting the future is always tricky. Among the famous swings and misses: the Hollywood producer who pooh-poohed movies with sound, the postmaster who thought stagecoaches would still deliver the mail in 1990, the US Patent Office head who believed everything meaningful was invented before 1900 and the IBM chairman who expected to sell only five computers worldwide.

However, accurately predicting the future is possible, as novelist Jules Verne proved. Avoiding the usual mistake of underestimating the pace of technological advancement, Verne in 1865 foretold with eerie precision the details of the first moon launch – which occurred more than a century later. Verne was right about its location, the space capsule’s size and its ocean landing. He correctly postulated that astronauts would experience weightlessness. Verne also anticipated that by 1960, Paris would have skyscrapers with elevators and air conditioning, and that people would travel by high-speed train and gas-powered cars.

How could he make such accurate predictions where others were wrong? He constantly spoke to scientists, and he constrained his predictions...

About the Author

Michio Kaku, who co-founded string field theory, teaches theoretical physics at the City University of New York and wrote Hyperspace and Physics of the Impossible.


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