business man touching digital wall with palm of hand
business man touching digital wall with palm of hand

The Future Through the Eyes of a Theoretical Physicist: Dr. Michio Kaku

Joe Kornik, Director of Brand Publishing Editor-in-Chief of VISION by Protiviti

Part of the goal of launching VISION by Protiviti, our new, forward-looking content resource for the C-suite, was to tap big, innovative thinkers who would stretch minds and push the limits of our comprehension about business and the future. Well, mission accomplished.

I’m not sure we could have come up with a bigger and more innovative thinker than Dr. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist, world-renowned futurist, best-selling author and acclaimed public speaker. Kaku sat down with me and Cory Gunderson, Protiviti’s executive vice president of global solutions, to discuss the future of cities, work, the mind, artificial intelligence (AI), the planet, outer space, BrainNet, fusion power and digital immortality. Buckle up — we may boldly go where you’ve never been before.

Let’s start with cities, which will become more livable through the use of artificial intelligence that will be everywhere, Kaku says. Driverless cars will navigate roads that will have sensors embedded in them. When you want to find a parking spot, you’ll tell your car to park itself after dropping you off. Later, you’ll simply tell your wristwatch to retrieve your car for you. AI will make it all possible.

But what about AI and jobs? Well, Kaku says that one of the jobs that AI will not replace, believe it or not, is that of the innovator. “The creators of imaginative things who speculate, dream about what the future will look like and create new things will be in high demand,” he says. “Companies have to foster this mentality because these are the people who are going to change history.”

And those companies that dominate in the future will be leaders of what Kaku calls “perfect capitalism.” Why is Amazon one of the biggest companies on Earth? “Because it digitized the middlemen. It digitized a source of friction in capitalism — and that creates value.” It figured out how to avoid the speed bumps in supply and demand. “The companies that can streamline the middleman, decrease the waste and eliminate the inefficiencies, the redundancy, of the marketplace will be the winners of the future,” he says.

Within a few decades, Kaku believes, we’ll be able to achieve digital immortality, and “one day, it’ll be so perfect that it’ll be almost indistinguishable from the real person,” he adds. “One day, I think we’ll have a library of souls — a whole library of people who have passed away but have left a digital legacy for us to marvel at.”

And when we asked him to think really far into the future — say, 2050 — Kaku didn’t disappoint. “By 2050, we’ll have fusion power — that is, energy from seawater,” he says. “The hydrogen from seawater will be able to energize our machines, essentially giving us almost unlimited power for free.”

He also introduced a term I had never heard before: BrainNet. “The future of the internet will be not digital, but mental,” he says. “We will mentally control the internet by thinking about it. In the future, you’ll walk into a room, mentally turn on the internet, mentally communicate and send emails, download films, interact with people — mentally.”

To see the full interview with Kaku, please visit VISION by Protiviti.

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