Michio Kaku


American Futurist, Theoretical Physicist, Popularizer of Science, Author, Henry Semat Chair and Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City College of New York

Author Quotes

Each of the genes of the human body is spelled out explicitly in this dictionary, but what each does is still largely a mystery.

For me, the real meaning in life is that we create our own meaning. It is our destiny to carve out our own future, rather than have it handed down from some higher authority.

Historically, with each new scientific discovery, a new model of the brain has emerged. One of the earliest models of the brain was the homunculus, a little man who lived inside the brain and made all the decisions. This picture was not very helpful, since it did not explain what was happening in the brain of the homunculus.

I often surprise people with the simple fact that your cell phone today has more computer power than all of NASA when it put two men on the moon in 1969. Computers are now powerful enough to record the electrical signals emanating from the brain and partially decode them into a familiar digital language. This makes it possible for the brain to directly interface with computers to control any object around it. The fast-growing field is called BMI (brain-machine interface), and the key technology is the computer.

If you could meet your grandkids as elderly citizens in the year 2100 ? you would view them as being, basically, Greek gods? that's where we're headed.

In my mind, there is no question that they're out there. My Career is well established. My texts books are required reading in all the major capitals on planet earth. If you want to become a physist to learn about the unified field theory-you read my books. Therefore, I'm in a position to say: Yes- Most likely they're out there, perhaps even visited, perhaps on our moon.

Instead of being overwhelmed by the universe, I think that perhaps one of the deepest experiences a scientist can have, almost approaching a religious awakening, is to realize that we are children of the stars, and that our minds are capable of understanding the universal laws that they obey. The atoms within our bodies were forged on the anvil of nucleo-synthesis within an exploding star aeons before the birth of the solar system. Our atoms are older than the mountains. We are literally made of star dust. Now these atoms, in turn, have coalesced into intelligent beings capable of understanding the universal laws governing that event.

John Perry Barlow, poet and lyricist for the Grateful Dead, once said, Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds.

My own emotional feeling is that life has a purpose?ultimately, I?d guess that the purpose it has is the purpose that we?ve given it and not a purpose that came out of any cosmic design.

One day when I was 8 years old, everyone was talking in hushed tones about a great scientist that had just died. His name was Albert Einstein.

Recent brain scans have shed light on how the brain simulates the future. These simulation are done mainly in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the CEO of the brain, using memories of the past. On one hand, simulations of the future may produce outcomes that are desirable and pleasurable, in which case the pleasure centers of the brain light up (in the nucleus accumbens and the hypothalamus). On the other hand, these outcomes may also have a downside to them, so the orbitofrontal cortex kicks in to warn us of possible dancers. There is a struggle, then, between different parts of the brain concerning the future, which may have desirable and undesirable outcomes. Ultimately it is the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex that mediates between these and makes the final decisions. (Some neurologists have pointed out that this struggle resembles, in a crude way, the dynamics between Freud's ego, id, and superego.)

So often, science fiction helps to get young people interested in science. That's why I don't mind talking about science fiction. It has a real role to play: to seize the imagination.

The 20 century was the century of physics, with computers, lasers, TV, radio, GPS, the internet, etc. Physics, in turn, has made possible that can probe biology. So I think the 21st century will be the century of physics and biology, esp. biology that can be explored via physics. So the future belongs to nanotech, biotech, AI, and quantum physics.

The Mind of God, which Einstein wrote eloquently about, is cosmic music resonating throughout hyperspace.

The right hemisphere controls sensory attention and body image; the left hemisphere controls skilled movements and some aspects of language.

Already from your own cells scientists can grow skin, cartilage, noses, blood vessels, bladders and windpipes. In the future, scientists will grow more complex organs, like livers and kidneys. The phrase 'organ failure' will disappear.

By 2100, our destiny is to become like the gods we once worshipped and feared. But our tools will not be magic wands and potions but the science of computers, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and most of all, the quantum theory.

Einstein once wrote that he believed in the God of Spinoza who reveals Himself in the harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and actions of men

For more than ten years, my theory was in limbo. Then, finally, in the late 1980s, physicists at Princeton said, ?There's nothing wrong with this theory. It's the only one that works, and we have to open out minds to hyperspace.? We weren't destined to discover this theory for another 100 years because it's so bizarre, so different from everything we'd been doing. We didn't use the normal sequence of discoveries to get to it. [Describing reaction to his superstring theory of hyperspace which mathematically relates the universe's basic forces.]

However the information revolution has a weakness. The weakness is precisely the educational system. The United States has the worst educational system known to science. Are graduates compete regularly at the level of 3rd world countries. How come the scientific establishment of United States doesn?t collapse? If we are producing a generation of dummies, if the stupid index of America keeps rising every year, just watch Network television and reality shows, right? How come the scientific establishment of the United States doesn?t collapse? Let me tell you something! Some of you may not know this. Source: LYBIO.net America has a secret weapon! That secret weapon is the H-1B, without the H-1B the scientific establishment of this country would collapse! Forget about Google. Forget about Silicon Valley, there would be no Silicon Valley without the H-1B. And you know what the H-1B is? It?s the Genius Visa! Ok. You realize that in the United States 50% of all P.H.D. candidates are foreign born. At my system, one of the biggest in the United States, 100% of P.H.D candidates are foreign born. The United States is a magnet sucking up all the brains of the world but now the brains are going back. They are going back to China. They are going back to India. And people are saying: ?Oh my god!? There?s a Silicon Valley in India now! Oh, my god, there?s a Silicon Valley in China! Duhhhhh! Where did they come from? It came from the United States! So don?t tell me that science is the engine of prosperity, you remove the H-1B Visa and you collapse the economy! In the Wall Street Journal editorialized in the Congress who wanted to ban the H-1B, saying they will take jobs away from the American people. The Wall Street Journal said: ?Look, there are no Americans who can take these jobs, these are at the highest level of high technology.? They don?t take away jobs from Americans they create entire industry (ies). That?s why we have an Achilles? heel and that?s the educational system and again Sociology Majors are not necessarily going to be the one determining the future in Silicon Valley but physicists, engineers, we need more of them, not less.

I often think that we are like the carp swimming contentedly in that pond. We live out our lives in our own "pond," confident that our universe consists of only the familiar and the visible. We smugly refuse to admit that parallel universes or dimensions can exist next to ours, just beyond our grasp. If our scientists invent concepts like forces, it is only because they cannot visualize the invisible vibrations that fill the empty space around us. Some scientists sneer at the mention of higher dimensions because they cannot be conveniently measured in the laboratory.

If you remove a single transistor in the digital computer?s central processor, the computer will fail.

In other words, one of the fundamental purposes of the emotions is provide a scale of values, so you can choose what is important, expensive, beautiful or precious. In the absence of emotions we all seem the same, then we would find ourselves in the paralyzing situation of not being able to make a choice. Scientists are therefore beginning to understand that emotions, far from being a luxury, is one of the foundations of intelligence.

Instead of simply waiting for robots to surpass us in intelligence and power, we should try to enhance ourselves, becoming superhuman in the process.

Just one supernova can temporarily outshine an entire galaxy of 100 billion stars.

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American Futurist, Theoretical Physicist, Popularizer of Science, Author, Henry Semat Chair and Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City College of New York