Book Review: Michio Kaku's "Physics of the Future"
Published on Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 2:13pm
There are two ways of looking at this book. The first is to see it for was it is: a collection of predictions about the future of human life some 100 years into the future. The second is to see it for what it isn’t – or better yet, what it fails to address: the dark side of future technology.
I’m certainly not a theoretical astrophysicist, but I’ve seen enough movies and played enough video games to know that all possible futures have one thing in common: killer robots. The author does allude to this several times throughout the book – referencing the Terminator movies as well as the Matrix Trilogy. He even touches on the "Three Laws" delineated by Isaac Asimov. But there’s no sense of urgency.
From a book that lends a large portion of itself to explaining the intricacies and possibilities of infinitely self-replicating, interstellar nano-bots, I expected a bit more gloom and doom. Where’s the fun in reading about how efficiently my ever-proclaimed flying car will drive. And yes, there is a considerable amount of time devoted to flying cars.
With that said, we must all appreciate the efforts of one of the world’s top scientists to shed light on how we or our children may one day live. We still love to read what brilliant scientists have to say about virtual reality, cyborgs, interstellar space travel and nano-bots. I, for one, just expected to be aghast by some newly discovered technology that will one day spell the end for humanity. Or perhaps, I expected a prediction that a hostile takeover of our civilization was imminent and coming soon to an Earth near you.
In any case, and although the book fails to satisfy my taste for planetary battles with the likes of Star Trek’s Borg, Mass Effect’s Geth or Asimov’s race of awakened robot servants, Physics of the Future is still interesting enough to warrant a read. There's enough science in the book to hold over futurists for a while, and the text isn't so lofty as to leave laymen grasping at string theories. Aside from the lack of terror-inducing prophecies, this book holds its own. I guess we’ll just have to stick to predictions about how a future with no diseases, wars, famines or death is going to be made possible.
Check out the hardcover or audio-book today.