Michio Kaku
Professor of Theoretical Physics, CUNY
01:51

Michio Kaku Explains What Physics Can Do For You

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What shape will the future take? Dr. Kaku explains which technological advances will remain confined to the pages of science fiction and which are likely to make the leap to your living room.

Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku is a futurist, popularizer of science, and theoretical physicist, as well as a bestselling author and the host of two radio programs. He is the co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory), and continues Einstein’s search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory. He holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics and a joint appointment at City College of New York and the Graduate Center of C.U.N.Y. He is also a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Kaku launched his Big Think blog, "Dr. Kaku's Universe," in March 2010.

Transcript

Michio Kaku: Most of science fiction is in fact well within the laws of physics, but possible within maybe 100 years.  And then we have type two impossibilities, impossibilities that may take 1,000 years or more.  That includes time travel, warp drive, higher dimensions, portals through space and time, star gates, worm holes.  That’s type two.  And then we have type three, and those are things which simply violate all the known laws of physics, and they’re very few of them.

So in my life I’ve had two great passions.  First is to help complete Einstein’s dream of a theory of everything.  An equation one inch long that would allow us to, “Read the mind of God.”  

But the second passion of my life is to see the future. 

You know, if you were to meet your grandparents at the year 1900, they were dirt farmers back then.  They didn’t live much beyond the age of 40, on average.  Long distance communication in the year 1900 was yelling at your neighbor.  And yet, if they could see you now, with iPads and iPods and satellites and GPS and laser beams, how would they view you?  They would view you as a wizard or sorcerer.

However, if we can now meet our grandkids of the year 2100, how would we view them?  We would view them as gods, like in Greek mythology.  Zeus could control objects around him by pure thought.  Materialize objects just by thinking.  And there’re perks to being a Greek god, Venus had a perfect body, a timeless body.  And we are beginning now to unravel the genetics at the molecular level, of the aging process.  And then Apollo, he had a chariot that he could ride across the heavens.  We will finally have that flying horse, I mean, that, we will have that flying car that we’ve always wanted to have in our garage.  We will be able to create life forms that don’t exist today.

And so in other words, if you want to see the future, you have to understand physics, and you have to realize that by the year 2100, we will have the power of the gods.  

To paraphrase Arthur C. Clark, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from divinity.”

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