The world of science fiction, complete with invisibility cloaks, mind-machine interfaces and body parts on demand, may be nearer than people think, as leading theoretical physicist Dr Michio Kaku lays out his vision of the future in this brand-new series for BBC Four.
Visions Of The Future looks at how science will revolutionise our lives over the next 100 years through artificial intelligence, biotechnology and the quantum revolution. Dr Kaku argues that humanity is making the historic transition from the “age of discovery” to the “age of mastery” � an age in which humans will move from being passive observers of nature to active choreographers of nature. This will give humankind not only unparalleled possibilities but also great responsibilities.
�Through interviews with some of the world’s top scientists and thinkers, such as artificial-intelligence pioneers Marvin Minsky and Rodney Brooks, geneticist Francis Collins and neuroscientist Professor Susan Greenfield, Dr Kaku explores how science will shape everyone’s future, both as a society and as individuals.
In the first episode, subtitled The Intelligence Revolution, Dr Kaku shows how computer intelligence will become as ubiquitous as electricity. With computing power doubling every 18 months, invisible intelligence will revolutionise homes, workplaces and lifestyles.
Virtual worlds will become so realistic that they will rival the physical world. And, thanks to the synergy of computer science and neuroscience, robots with strong, human-level intelligence may finally become a reality.
In the ultimate stage of mastery, we’ll even be able to merge minds with machine intelligence. For the first time on television, the programme shows how a severely depressed patient can be turned into a happy person at the push of a button.
As the intense cross-pollination of AI research and neuroscience creates mind-bending possibilities, Dr Kaku asks: how far will we go?
BBC Four Monday 5 November 2007 9pm-10pm