Michio Kaku spends a lot of time envisioning the amazing upcoming technologies that are getting close enough to touch. It’s a mostly positive endeavor, except for some troubling and unnerving possibilities Kaku refers to as “wildcards.” These unanticipated uses of tech threaten to turn happy futuristic dreams into nightmares.
We’re actually seeing these things happen more and more. No sooner had our initial excitement about 3D printing peaked than we began to hear about this technology being the driver behind a new industry that produces homegrown weapons. One of the most exciting aspects of modern tech is how quickly it can filter down to the street, but guns. How about a person with the right skill set using a commercially available laser to fashion the uranium required for a home-bred nuclear device? Or a super-virus accidentally created by a high school student studying the manipulation of life forms in some future high school science class? Eek.
It’s not that governmental or other official uses of new technology help a dreamer sleep too well at night either. In fact, their larger scale is even more likely to wipe us off the face of the earth. Kaku imagines a military organization losing control of a weaponized disease.
Let’s face it: The first technology-based wildcard, one that’s been brewing since the Industrial Revolution, has already been dealt — climate change.
The scariest part of all of this is that of course you can’t preemptively prevent what you don’t expect to happen. It would seem we’re in for a wild ride, and there’s not much we can do but keep our fingers crossed and hold on tight. Unless someone invents a time machine, pronto. Because could possibly go wrong?