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The Future of the Mind
Cover of The Future of the Mind
The Future of the Mind
The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind

Michio Kaku, the New York Times bestselling author of Physics of the Impossible and Physics of the Future tackles the most fascinating and complex object in the known universe: the human brain.
The Future of the Mind brings a topic that once belonged solely to the province of science fiction into a startling new reality. This scientific tour de force unveils the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world—all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics—including recent experiments in telepathy, mind control, avatars, telekinesis, and recording memories and dreams. The Future of the Mind is an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience. Dr. Kaku looks toward the day when we may achieve the ability to upload the human brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; project thoughts and emotions around the world on a brain-net; take a "smart pill" to enhance cognition; send our consciousness across the universe; and push the very limits of immortality.

Michio Kaku, the New York Times bestselling author of Physics of the Impossible and Physics of the Future tackles the most fascinating and complex object in the known universe: the human brain.
The Future of the Mind brings a topic that once belonged solely to the province of science fiction into a startling new reality. This scientific tour de force unveils the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world—all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics—including recent experiments in telepathy, mind control, avatars, telekinesis, and recording memories and dreams. The Future of the Mind is an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience. Dr. Kaku looks toward the day when we may achieve the ability to upload the human brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; project thoughts and emotions around the world on a brain-net; take a "smart pill" to enhance cognition; send our consciousness across the universe; and push the very limits of immortality.

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  • From the book

    Houdini believed that telepathy was impossible. But science is provingHoudini wrong.

    Telepathy is now the subject of intense research at universities around
    the world, where scientists have already been able to use advanced sensors to
    read individual words, images, and thoughts in a person's brain. This could
    alter the way we communicate with stroke and accident victims who are
    "locked in" their bodies, unable to articulate their thoughts except through
    blinks. But that's just the start. Telepathy might also radically change the way
    we interact with computers and the outside world.

    Indeed, in a recent "Next 5 in 5 Forecast," which predicts five revolutionary
    developments in the next five years, IBM scientists claimed that we will
    be able to mentally communicate with computers, perhaps replacing the
    mouse and voice commands. This means using the power of the mind to call
    people on the phone, pay credit card bills, drive cars, make appointments,
    create beautiful symphonies and works of art, etc. The possibilities are endless,
    and it seems that everyone-- from computer giants, educators, video
    game companies, and music studios to the Pentagon-- is converging on this
    technology.

    True telepathy, found in science-fiction and fantasy novels, is not possible
    without outside assistance. As we know, the brain is electrical. In general,
    anytime an electron is accelerated, it gives off electromagnetic radiation. The
    same holds true for electrons oscillating inside the brain, which broadcasts
    radio waves. But these signals are too faint to be detected by others, and
    even if we could perceive these radio waves, it would be difficult to make
    sense of them. Evolution has not given us the ability to decipher this collection
    of random radio signals, but computers can. Scientists have been able
    to get crude approximations of a person's thoughts using EEG scans. Subjects
    would put on a helmet with EEG sensors and concentrate on certain
    pictures-- say, the image of a car. The EEG signals were then recorded for
    each image and eventually a rudimentary dictionary of thought was created,
    with a one- to- one correspondence between a person's thoughts and the EEG
    image. Then, when a person was shown a picture of another car, the computer
    would recognize the EEG pattern as being from a car.

    The advantage of EEG sensors is that they are noninvasive and quick.
    You simply put a helmet containing many electrodes onto the surface of the
    brain and the EEG can rapidly identify signals that change every millisecond.
    But the problem with EEG sensors, as we have seen, is that electromagnetic
    waves deteriorate as they pass through the skull, and it is difficult to locate
    their precise source. This method can tell if you are thinking of a car or a
    house, but it cannot re- create an image of the car. That is where Dr. Jack Gallant's
    work comes in.

    VIDEOS OF THE MIND

    The epicenter for much of this research is the University of California at
    Berkeley, where I received my own Ph.D. in theoretical physics years ago. I
    had the pleasure of touring the laboratory of Dr. Gallant, whose group has
    accomplished a feat once considered to be impossible: videotaping people's
    thoughts. "This is a major leap forward reconstructing internal imagery. We
    are opening a window into the movies in our mind," says Gallant.

    When I visited his laboratory, the first thing I noticed was the team of
    young, eager postdoctoral and graduate students huddled in front of their
    computer screens, looking intently at video images that were...

About the Author-
  • MICHIO KAKU is a professor of physics at the City University of New York, cofounder of string field theory, and the author of several widely acclaimed science books, including Hyperspace, Beyond Einstein, Physics of the Impossible, and Physics of the Future.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 16, 2013
    In this expansive, illuminating journey through the mind, theoretical physicist Kaku (Physics of the Future) explores fantastical realms of science fiction that may soon become our reality. His futurist framework merges physics with neuroscience to model how our brains construct the future, and is loosely applied to demonstrations that “show proof-of-principle” in accomplishing what was previously fictional: that minds can be read, memories can be digitally stored, and intelligences can be improved to great extents. The discussion, while heavily scientific, is engaging, clear, and replete with cinematic references. Kaku’s claims, however, often lack generalizability: his points about human thought are derived from research studies and patterns that emerge from discrete areas of analysis under highly sophisticated technological surveillance. The place of these esoteric conclusions in the nuanced processes of our daily life is rarely explained. Likewise, each issue raised, while fascinating, is equally fleeting: topics skip from telepathy helmets to cell phone MRIs in just over a page. Legal and ethical complications, too, arise with each predicted advance, though aren’t given the attention they demand. These new mental frontiers make for captivating reading, yet Kaku’s optimism and enthusiasm provides cover for what are mostly overhyped claims. Agent: Stuart Krichevsky.

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2014
    Having written the enthusiastic but strictly science-based Physics of the Impossible (2008) and Physics of the Future (2011), Kaku (Theoretical Physics/City Univ. of New York) turns his attention to the human mind with equally satisfying results. Aware that predictions limited to a lifetime are usually wrong--where are the flying cars, cancer cures and Mars colonies foretold in the 1950s?--the author expands his forecasts to the next few centuries. He has no trouble foreseeing telepathy, telekinesis, intelligence pills, artificial memories and mind control. He agrees that centuries of research by physicians and neuroscientists has borne fruit, but he boasts that the end of the 20th century saw his own profession, physics, produce spectacular advances, with more to come. Acronymic high-tech machines (fMRI, PET, ECOG, DTI) allow researchers to watch the brain reason, see, remember and deliver instructions. Telepathy is no longer a fantasy since scanners can already detect, if crudely, what a subject is thinking, and genetics and biochemistry now allow researchers to alter memories and increase intelligence in animals. Direct electrical stimulation of distinct brain regions has changed behavior, awakened comatose patients, relieved depression, and produced out-of-body and religious experiences. Similar to the human genome program, massive research efforts in the United States and Europe to reverse-engineer the brain have the potential to vastly increase human potential as well as relieve disease and injury. "[W]e should treasure the consciousness that is found on the Earth," writes the author. "It is the highest form of complexity known in the universe, and probably the rarest." Kaku is not shy about quoting science-fiction movies and TV (he has seen them all). Despite going off the deep end musing about phenomena such as isolated consciousness spreading throughout the universe, he delivers ingenious predictions extrapolated from good research already in progress.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    September 15, 2013
    Having wowed us with "New York Times" best sellers like "Physics of the Future", CUNY physics professor Kaku takes us into the new neuroscience, showing us that recording memories and videotaping our dreams aren't sf fantasies but reality. And soon we might be able to upload our brains to a computer. With an eight-city tour.

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist
    "Facts to ponder: there are as many stars in our galaxy (about 100 billion) as there are neurons in your brain; your cell phone has more computing power than NASA had when it landed Apollo 11 on the moon. These seemingly unrelated facts tell us two things: our brains are magnificently complex organisms, and science fiction has a way of becoming reality rather quickly. This deeply fascinating book by theoretical physicist Kaku explores what might be in store for our minds: practical telepathy and telekinesis; artificial memories implanted into our brains; and a pill that will make us smarter. He describes work being done right now on using sensors to read images in the human brain and on downloading artificial memories into the brain to treat victims of strokes and Alzheimer's. SF fans might experience a sort of breathless thrill when reading the book--This stuff is happening! It's really happening!--and for general readers who have never really thought of the...
  • Wall Street Journal
    Praise for Physics of the Future

    "[A] wide-ranging tour of what to expect from technological progress over the next century or so.... fascinating--and related with commendable clarity"
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The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind
Michio Kaku
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