Physics of the future — Summary

Want to stretch your imagination and learn about technology at the same time? Read this book

 

Predicting the future based on technological trends of today

Moore’s law is one of the best known technological trends. It predicts the trend that computing power doubles every 18 months since the invention of the microchip. Meteorologists make predictions about the future based on weather patterns of the present.

In the same way, we can look at other technology trends today and make predictions about the future.

Computers will become ubiquitous

Paper once was a highly scarce thing when it was first invented. As the printing press made books more available, however, paper started to be more and more available. The same happens with computer chips. Nowadays nearly every household device has some kind of computer chip in it and the trend only progresses.

We need to have a way to communicate with all those devices however, this could be accomplished by a smart contact lens or other augmented reality features in the future.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality such as a computerized contact lens could help us with real-time information on the go, wherever we need it. One use case is when we are at the supermarket and want to access the collective wisdom of the crowd in the form of reviews to decide what item we should buy. Another case could be weather information and of course, text messages.

Augmented reality will simply allow us to interact much better with technology and make our lives easier. More and more time will be spent in virtual profiles like social media, making artificial realities a normal part of life.

The lines between “artificial” and “real” will be further blurred by implanting computers into the brain and enabling a whole new experience. Eventually, it might even be possible to transfer our consciousness completely to a digital medium, for example, a robot.

Genetic science and virtual doctors will make diseases a thing of the past

Cancer remains one of the biggest threats to human life. Current methods of treatment cause a big toll on the body. In the future however, gene-technology and nano-technology could enable us to fix the broken genes directly with nanobots. By injecting nanobots into the bloodstream and hitch a ride on the body’s soldiers, the antibodies, they would go straight to where they are needed, the cancerous cells. They could then do their thing, eliminating the cancer cells and leaving the rest of the body untouched.

Disease prevention will also take whole new dimensions. Sensors which will be embedded in our clothes, for example, will constantly monitor your health. If they detect an anomaly in your vital signs you will be immediately notified. If they fail to detect something in advance and you suddenly fall unconscious, or you have an accident, they will notice and send an alert to emergency services with your exact location and relevant data.

Routine visits to your doctor will be unnecessary because you will have your own virtual doctor at home. With access to huge databases containing all medical records and literature, he will be able to make the best decisions from your health-monitoring sensors and perform medical assessments in real-time.

Stem-cell technology will increase lifespans

Another great breakthrough might occur with stem-cells. Stem-cells have the ability to transform into any other type of cell. So if your liver has been damaged by high caloric consumption, stem cells could transform into liver cells to create a whole new organ, replacing the defective one.

Another benefit of stem-cells could be the anti-aging effect. Our bodies decay with time due to damaging environmental factors such as a poor diet and pollution. In time, the body becomes unable to fix all these problems. Stem-cells could be used to counter this snowballing effect of cell decay.

Another way to extend our lifespans could be achieved by switching off certain genes which are responsible for aging. Scientists have already achieved this in other organisms. They have been able to increase lifespans of yeast and flies by up to 110% by modifying their genes.

New sources of transport will save energy and revolutionize transport

Oil is the biggest player in global transport yet we are approaching the end of the oil era. The inevitable shortage of oil will cause a supply shortage, driving up prices and rocking the world’s economies. Unless we do something to prevent it. Superconductors could harness the power of magnetism to build very efficient ways of transportation. Superconductors create a thin magnetic field when magnets are placed upon them. These magnets then float atop the conductor without additional energy.

Adding force to propel these vehicles then would enable great speeds at little energy expenditure because there is no surface friction. Magnetic vehicles only have to deal with air resistance which dramatically reduces their energy consumption. Currently, superconductors can be built but only in controlled laboratory conditions at very low temperatures. The remaining challenge is to build room temperature superconductors which would enable their use.

Telekinetic technology will allow us to move objects with our thoughts

Currently, neuroscience advances already enable the measurement of neural impulses of a person’s brain which serve as commands for mechanical devices. One such device is the mind-controlled wheelchair. The same technology can be used to send instructions to computers, replacing the mouse and keyboard as an interface.

But these technologies will not only benefit people with disabilities or degenerative diseases, in fact, people will benefit from them on a daily basis. The perhaps biggest improvement will happen when we will have a better way of interacting with our smartphones. Imagine how much time you’d save if you could simply type a message via thoughts rather than by typing with your fingers or by voice.

Intelligent homes will also be completely controllable by thoughts. Rather than switching on lights and manually setting up your dishwasher and coffee machine, you will just need to send thought commands.

Artificial Intelligence will solve many of our problems

AI is a big hype in the media although we aren’t being able to build a completely conscious robot or computer. Once that will happen, however, these AI’s will be able to realize work and solve many of our problems. A doomsday scenario like a war between machines and humans is unlikely because a breakthrough won’t happen overnight. We will have time to adapt to these new technologies.

For example, we might program the AI to experience joy by helping humans, and pain when hurting humans. This way we lay a good moral ground so that we don’t need to worry much about machines behaving badly.

To conclude, here a little excerpt which will give you an additional mental stretching exercise.

LIVING IN A FAIRY TALE

Because computer intelligence will be so cheap and widespread in the environment, some futurists have commented that the future might look like something out of a fairy tale. If we have the power of the gods, then the heaven we inhabit will look like a fantasy world. The future of the Internet, for example, is to become the magic mirror of Snow White. We will say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall,” and a friendly face will emerge, allowing us to access the wisdom of the planet. We will put chips in our toys, making them intelligent, like Pinocchio, the puppet who wanted to be a real boy. Like Pocahontas, we will talk to the wind and the trees, and they will talk back. We will assume that objects are intelligent and that we can talk to them.

 

Probably your interest is sparked by now, this book is a good exercise for your imagination. Not because it is pure fantasy, but because technology will truly enable things we can hardly imagine currently.

Get the book

Karl Niebuhr

Karl Niebuhr

Hi there,
I often learn awesome stuff while reading and it makes me want to share that shit. That's what this site is for, hope you not just learn from it but enjoy it like I do!
Karl Niebuhr

Latest posts by Karl Niebuhr (see all)


Also published on Medium.

Leave a Comment