Michio Kaku’s book Physics of the future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 provides a tremendous amount of insight into the future from the perspective of a world-renowned physicist. Influenced by the book Paris in the Twentieth Century, a book written by Jules Verne that accurately predicted advances in society such as: the car, gas stations and a primitive version of the internet back in 1863 (this Jules Verne book was actually published in 1994 due to his publisher never releasing his book in the 19th century as he believed that it wouldn’t sell well). Kaku explores a wide array of topics such as the end of Moore’s Law (which according to an estimate by Gordon Moore himself in 2004 may end in 2024). If Moore’s law were to end computers would cease to double in computing power ever 2 years, and year after year computers would be at the same level so most people would not buy new computers and would just stick to using their old ones. This is in fact already happening (not in terms of speed ceasing to double though) with smartphones as hardware and software manufacturers are running out of ideas for new smartphones. Furthermore, smartphone models a few years old can already do many of the things a brand-new smartphone can do, so why buy a new one?
Kaku also looks into the future of medicine and predicts that cancer zapping nanobots will make cancer as harmless as the common cold in the future. This future extrapolation is based on the fact that there are already “smart pills” that had been invented in 1992 to track where a certain pill is inside the human body. In terms of energy needs currently with nuclear fission a lot of radioactive waste occurs such as its use in nuclear power plants. Therefore, nuclear fusion technology seems a promising solution to energy needs on a large scale according to his book. From my understanding of his thoughts regarding the future of space travel it is my opinion that spaceships powered by antimatter and the use of Nano ships to nearby stars will yield humanity the best results. There have been some advances in Nano ships in recent years coupled with the fact that we can launch them further as they are the size of a chip. Large scale antimatter spaceships are more difficult to put in practice as Kaku says at CERN scientists have been able to successfully extract some trillionths of a gram of antimatter. This is not enough to go to distant stars, but the fact remains that antimatter is capable of sending astronauts to great distances beyond our solar system but not in the minuscule amounts we are able to extract today. A larger atom smasher would have to be made in order to make this vision a reality (in my opinion). Whatever countries or group of countries that are willing to invest the money for this and construct the atom smasher specifically for extracting antimatter (the CERN facility is a research facility not made for the sole purpose of obtaining antimatter) would easily win a future space race, if one occurs. If it doesn’t that country or group of countries would gain a technological advantage over other space faring nations.
Kaku also looks at the future of the job market with regards to rising automation in the workplace and says blue-collar workers such as autoworkers would likely lose out in the future job market, while other blue-collar workers such as those in construction and trades that require non repetitive work and pattern recognition would keep their jobs. Furthermore, white collar workers such as those involved in bean counting (bank tellers and accountants) would also lose out in this new economy. The winners would be individuals whose jobs require creativity such as lawyers that can provide their services in a unique and different way from what artificial intelligence based robotic lawyers can provide (lawyers that cannot adapt to this new economy would be left out in the cold). Web Developers, Graphic Designers and Real Estate agents for example would be winners in this new economy.
In the end of the book Michio Kaku writes about a day in the life in 2100 and holistically brings together all the different concepts he discussed in the book. I would say this book is an excellent read and I would give it 9 out of 10 stars.