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This review is from: Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 (Hardcover)
Michio Kaku's "Physics of the Future" is disappointing. While it contains a fair quantity of interesting material, it offers nothing that is astonishing. Its vision of the future is flat and forgettable, its prose dull and convoluted.
Professor Kaku posits a future of ubiquitous chips (he sees Moore's Law as not reaching its physical limits until 2020) continuous connection to son-of-the-internet through contact lenses, enhanced reality and virtual tourism, extended lifespans and human capability due to genetic engineering, nano surgery and cybernetics, domestic robots, magnetic transportation and, more speculatively, cold fusion, space elevators, quantum computing, matter replicators and advanced artificial intelligence. Most of this is plausible and much of it is interesting, but it is hardly new to casual readers of the science and technology sections of, say, the Economist or the New York Times. Not to mention fans of Star Trek.
As both a respected quantum physicist and a telegenic popular scientist, Professor Kaku is well-positioned to present his predictions of the future. For this book he also consulted some 300 other experts. Perhaps that is his problem: too many inputs, for he is like the centipede who forgot how to walk after thinking too hard about which leg to move first. In his earlier book, "The Physics of the Impossible," Kaku used a simple framework of three levels of impossibility to organize his work into a lucid whole. In this work he introduces several different frameworks that he either drops or applies only half-heartedly. In whole sections, as in his "energy" chapter or his discussion of Artificial Intelligence, he argues himself in circles without a convincing conclusion. He includes sections such as those on climate change and the social implications of future technologies more for the sake of exhaustiveness than because he has anything insightful to say. Much of his prose is wooden and padded with clichés and uninspired references to Greek or Norse mythology.
Perhaps in the future, intelligent machines will step up to effective editing. In the meantime, Professor, would you let your students get away with this?
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Initial post: 17 Sep 2012, 23:05:19 BST
I agree with this review completely. If you have already read anything recent about these topics, or keep up with current science news generally, there will be little in the book to justify your time or money. Kaku is a great communicator, though this book is best given as a gift to interested 12 year olds (+/-)
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