Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist, best-selling author, and popularizer of science, appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air today to discuss his new book, “Physics of the Future”. The interview touches on many stimulating topics ranging from internet contact lenses to augmented reality to the physics of the universe. I’m looking forward to reading through the book sometime soon, but here’s a summary of some of the ideas in the interview and my initial thoughts:
Internet Contact Lenses
Claim: Blink and you will go online, instantaneous language translation, cocktail party domination.
Feasibility: I think this one is definitely going to happen. They already successfully implanted a contact lens and a prototype for an augmented reality lens has been created as well – it has an LED, a small radio chip, and an antenna, and they’ve transmitted energy to the lens wirelessly, lighting the LED. They’ve even implanted these successful in rabbits. Look for this technology much sooner than 2100.
Augmented Reality with Brain Chips
Claim: This is basically like having an Avatar – we’ll be able to control a robot or other tools simply using our thoughts from a distance.
Feasibility: I’ve got to say this will also be happening in the near future. As Dr. Kaku pointed out in the interview, this research is going on at several neuroscience departments around the country with excellent results. Just check out this video if you’re skeptical. I would expect that you will see quadriplegics walking around with exoskeleton suits before too long, but at this point, we need more sophisticated algorithms and a deeper understanding of neural processes to get there.
Claim: This seems to be suggesting that we will have Matrix-like ability to upload new memories into our brain using tape recorded memories – i.e passively learning calculus, kung-fu, chess, etc…
Feasibility: I think this would probably be the most far-fetched idea presented in the interview. I don’t believe we will have decoded human memory to this level by the year 2100, but I hope to be proven wrong. Considering that we are learning more and more about the complexity of human memory storage, I think we will have to have mapped almost the entire human brain for this technology to take form.
He also discusses a bit about his educational training in physics and his string-field theory, which I find fascinating, but I’m certainly not qualified to discuss its feasibility.
And this is a great quote: “The mind of God is cosmic music resonating through 11-dimensional hyperspace.”