Science Fiction and The Future

Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science. He is a professor of theoretical physics in the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center. In a recent article, he makes three predictions about the future. His first is his belief that humanity will become an interplanetary species.

The Earth is in the middle of a shooting gallery of asteroids and comets and meteors. It’s inevitable that we will be hit with a planet buster, something like what hit the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. We need an insurance policy

– Michio Kaku

Dr. Kaku suggests that we are about to move into a golden era of space exploration. He notes the level of engagement and money from both Government and private sources as evidence. At the same time, the article suggests that he is very practical about this scenario. For instance, he states that no one can explain how we are to provide housing on Mars.

His second prediction involves the brain, as it increasingly becomes the next interaction frontier. Dr. Kaku describes the situation surrounding Stephen Hawking, where a computer would scan his facial expressions and brain patterns and convert them into choices on the computer screen. This quote from the article captures his thoughts:

And who are the first people to buy internet contact lenses? College students taking final examinations. They will blink and see all the answers to my exam right there in their contact lens. And this could be very useful. If you’re at a cocktail party, and there’s some very important people there who could influence your future, but you don’t know who they are, in the future, you’ll know exactly who to suck up to at any cocktail party. On a blind date, they could be great because, of course, your blind date could say that he’s single, he’s rich and he’s successful. But your contact lens says that he pays child support, that he’s three times divorced, and the guy is a total loser

– Michio Kaku

His third prediction underscores our entrance into the next period of human development. Much like the period spanning the late 19th and early 20th century, we are likely to experience an astounding period of medical advancement. Back then, the focus was infectious disease, tomorrow it is chronic disease. Dr. Kaku believes we will defeat cancer. As we enter this new period of scientific discovery, nanotechnology and smart toilets represent part of the movement towards a cure. Eventually, he sees cancer becoming like the common cold, we will live with it, but it won’t kill you.

While many still view these advancements as science fiction, they are becoming science fact – as Futurist Gerd Leonhard likes to say.

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