Future of Humanity /Michio Kaku
Dr. Michio Kaku: When I was eight years old, something happened, which changed my whole life. I saw a picture in the newspaper talking about an event. A great scientist had just died. They flashed a picture of his desk. On his desk was a book, the book was unfinished. The caption said something like, "This is the unfinished manuscript from the greatest scientist of our age." So I was fascinated by this story. Why couldn't get finish this theory? What's so hard that the greatest scientist of our time couldn't finish it? I had to know. I went into the library and then started to look up this man, Albert Einstein. I found out the book was the Theory of Everything. An equation maybe no more than one inch long that would allow us to "read the mind of God". I was hooked. I just had to know. It never occurred to me that you could have a comprehensive theory of all the laws of science in just one equation.
Well, today we think we have it. It's called string theory. It hasn't been proven yet. I'm one of the co-founders of this theory, the co-founder of string field theory. string theory says that al the particles we see in nature, the corks, the left ons, the nutriens, thousands of these particles are nothing but musical notes on a tiny, tiny vibrating string like a rubber brand. Then physics is noting but the harmonies of these vibrating strings. Chemistry is the melodies you can play on these strings. The universe is a symphony of strings. The mind of God that Albert Einstein spent decades searching after. The mind of God is cosmic music resonating through 11 dimensional hyperspace. That is the mind of God.
When I was eight years old, not only did I see Albert Einstein as a role model, I had a second role model. On Saturday mornings, they used to show the old Flash Gordon series on TV. I was hooked. I mean, ray guns, monsters, star ships. What's not there to love on that series? That series eventually germinated to create Star Wars. Star Wars is basically a clone from the old Flash Gordon series. Almost scene from scene. You can see huge chunks of where Star Wars came from.
Now, this meant to me that the laws of physics that I loved. The laws of physics would allow me to see the future. That the ray guns, the star ships, the invisibility shields, all the stuff you see in Flash Gordon ultimately come back to physics. So that's when I decided that I wanted to become a physicist. But I realized that I had to explain physics to the average person or else, of course, it meant nothing to them. Unfortunately, we physicists use mathematics and jargon as shorthand. It's very convenient to talk in equations. When I talk to my fellow physicists, we just talk equations. English words that are shorthand for equations. But to the average person outside, this is gibberish, right? So I'm a professor. I talk to freshmen. I talk to grad students. I have to talk to their language. I cannot use just my language. I have to talk to them in their language. I have to get inside their head. That's why I realized that you have to explain these theories in a way that they can understand.
My favorite quote from Einstein is that, "If a theory cannot be explained to a child, then the theory is probably worthless." Meaning that there's a picture, there's a concept, there's a principle behind all the great ideas of physics that you can explain to a child. So that's my goal to be able to explain string theory to a child.
In my earlier book, Future of Humanity, I actually predicted what the next 20, 30 years would look like. We're right on schedule. Right on schedule with the predictions. Because I interviewed all the great minds of the time. Hundreds of them for BBC Television, the Discovery Channel. So basically these are the people who are invented the future. Now, one thing I got wrong in some sense is the fact of the speed at which genetic engineering has progressed, for example. I predicted that we're going to have personalized genomes by 2020. I predicted that. Many biologists thought I was nuts, totally out of mind because it took months just to get one gene sequence. Months. Here I was predicting that all of our genes would be sequenced by 2020. Well, I was too pessimistic. Because, of course, it's commercially available today. Just pay a few bucks and have your genome read. We don't even think about it anymore. The reason why is because genomics has been automated with robots and machines. It's an automated process. Humans do not sequence genes. Robots do. That's why it progressed very, very fast. Faster than I predicted.