サイエンス21 単行本 – 2000/4
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Remember, in 1998 the internet was relatively new, dial-up connection speeds of 128 baud were considered fast, more people than not still had rabbit ears on their televisions. Michio Kaku posits that by 2010 we'll have flat screen televisions light enough to hang on a wall (there'll be competition between LCD and plasma models), cable companies will be taking over voice communication from the copper-wired telephone companies, movies will be available on demand on computers (once they break the 4Mbps barrier ... I just upgraded my home system to 40Mbps a few weeks ago), and a lot more that in fact has turned out to be absolutely true and correct. He doesn't use the term "the cloud" but he describes exactly what it is, and it's happening now. He's even pretty close on the timing.
Obviously the further you look into the future the harder it is to predict with accuracy. But Dr. Kaku has been so spot on during the first section that his credibility with the fascinating parts to follow is beyond question. Yes, he might be off on some things, but based on his earlier success he probably won't be off by much.
Another thing about this author is that although he's a Big Brain he can put things in terms easily grasped by us Merely Normals. The book isn't like a text book, it's like an inspirational speech. In short, fun to read.
So yeah, it's getting close to being old enough to want to borrow the keys to the car, but it's still quite viable, very readable, enjoyable and thought provoking. I read two to three books a week, mostly fiction, followed by history and biographies. This is the first "science" book I've read in several years and it's going to lead me to buy more, especially by this author. What better recommendation can anyone give than that?
So this book is over ten years old; some of Kaku's predictions were right on the money, or were off by a year or so. Today we have mind-bogglingly fast computers (but still not fast enough), reasonably smart robots, incredible drugs that are beginning to make some cancers a thing of the past, the entire human genome is known, and we still don't have a grand unified theory. So either Kaku had (and still has) incredible insight about where science is going, or has the ability bet-hedge enough and make vague predictions that will be interpreted as true no matter what happens. You be the judge. I still enjoyed reading this book, despite its age.
Personal opinions: I guess I'm another engineer with a chip on my shoulder. Yes, physicists are responsible for understanding nature, but engineers are responsible for using that and bringing products to market and to the benefit of the rest of the population, a point which was not at all discussed (perhaps engineering needs its own Kaku/Sagan). I was offended as the arrogance of Kaku and the people he interviewed in saying (more than once) that certain problems are "just" engineering at this point. Also, Kaku's (left-leaning) politics seep through the pages every now and then (I was under the impression that science was supposed to be free of politics). I leave you with this: the picture that is painted of the future is pretty rosy...science and technology will make our environment better, but it won't make us better humans. Let's continue to advance science and at the same time work on becoming better neighbors.