cover image Visions


Michio Kaku, Kaku. Doubleday Books, $24.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-385-48498-5

Exhibiting a rare clarity of scientific thought and exposition, this brilliant futurist catalogue from the renowned physicist and author of the much-praised Hyperspace (1994) convincingly predicts where the next hundred years of technological advancement will take us. Science, for Kaku, is on the verge of a new age in which the once separate ""Three Pillars of Modern Science""--quantum physics, computer science and biotechnology--will converge, creating a startling synergy. The outcome will affect us right down to our DNA. We will make a technological and conceptual transition ""from being observers of the dance of nature to becoming active choreographers"" in a world of seamless human-computer interactions, where damaged, cancer-causing genes are repaired by molecular machines and where cyborgs will grow their own chips. But Kaku moves far beyond the usual futuristic fare of gadgets and gizmos, offering up the hard science principles and soft science social impact of the advances he describes. If there is one flaw here, it is that Kaku writes with a scientist's nearly unbounded optimism for the future. A careful reader will discern moral questions and responsibilities that Kaku fails to address adequately (for instance, whether immortality is in fact a worthy goal). Based in part on interviews with more than 150 scientists, many of them Nobel laureates, the book nevertheless offers a coherent and fully realized picture of our increasingly mediated future lives. It succeeds in drawing a time line for the appearance of everything from ""wearable"" computers to the tenth dimension, and it does so with clear-sighted analysis and a contagious sense of wonder. (Oct.)