Visions of the Future

Visions of the Future

Ratings: 8.30/10 from 80 users.

Visions of the FutureIn this new three-part documentary, leading theoretical physicist and futurist Dr Michio Kaku explores the cutting edge science of today, tomorrow, and beyond.

He argues that humankind is at a turning point in history. In this century, we are going to make the historic transition from the ‘Age of Discovery’ to the ‘Age of Mastery’, a period in which we will move from being passive observers of nature to its active choreographers. This will give us not only unparalleled possibilities but also great responsibilities.

1. The Intelligence Revolution. In the opening installment, Kaku explains how artificial intelligence will revolutionise homes, workplaces and lifestyles, and how virtual worlds will become so realistic that they will rival the physical world. Robots with human-level intelligence may finally become a reality, and in the ultimate stage of mastery, we’ll even be able to merge our minds with machine intelligence.

For the first time on television, see how a severely depressed patient can be turned into a happy person at the push of a button – all thanks to the cross-pollination of neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

2. The Biotech Revolution Genetics and biotechnology promise a future of unprecedented health and longevity: DNA screening could prevent many diseases, gene therapy could cure them and, thanks to lab-grown organs, the human body could be repaired as easily as a car, with spare parts readily available. Ultimately, the ageing process itself could be slowed down or even halted.

But what impact will this have on who we are and how we will live? And, with our mastery of the genome, will the human race end up in a world divided by genetic apartheid?

3. The Quantum Revolution The quantum revolution could turn many ideas of science fiction into science fact – from metamaterials with mind-boggling properties like invisibility through limitless quantum energy and room temperature superconductors to Arthur C Clarke’s space elevator. Some scientists even forecast that in the latter half of the century everybody will have a personal fabricator that re-arranges molecules to produce everything from almost anything.

Yet how will we ultimately use our mastery of matter? Like Samson, will we use our strength to bring down the temple? Or, like Solomon, will we have the wisdom to match our technology?

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47 Comments / User Reviews

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  1. Robert CJenkins

    It is easy to follow for I think the need of the people out weigh the need of doing nothing, 60 years have seen some things my self hope to live at 60 more God bless.

  2. DG

    As far as I can tell, Michio mostly floats stuff from movies as the future. I preferred scientists before the PR industry turned them all into witchdoctors and prophets, who've completely abandoned empiricism, falsifiability, and Socratic ignorance. Michio is the High Priest of this bunch.

  3. Sam

    Very interesting documentary which he also discusses in his book the Future of Physics. Some of the points are a little off the wall and im not entirely sure why there isn't more discussion on the ethical arguments of virtual reality and robotics. For example the girl studying history who spends up to 6 hrs a day in MMORPGs really should be put in touch with a councellor to deal with an obvious social anxiety disorder rather than 'escape' reality into a video game.

  4. Paul Michaelson

    Although it's nice to have Scientists to back up these ideas. I think that observation of society and technology can bring you to these conclusions naturally. Taking culture and the speed of computerization, its and inevitable outcome.

  5. saeed8756

    finally a documentary about the future with actual scientists and facts to support these claims, not just wild predictions.

  6. cynicalpanties

    there seems to me two glaring omissions: the overwhelming disparity between the haves and have-nots of this world and the fact that our resource base is finite. when these revolutions sweep us into the glorious future, will there still be billions of starving humans? will we somehow find a way to fuel these revolutions without strip mining, deforesting, and polluting the entire face of the earth? in the first part, he likens cheap and powerful microchips to pieces of scrap paper: just as cheap and disposable. thats a bit much considering there is only so much we can rip from the ground and only so much fresh water to pollute to make the things. just like running out of trees for paper, i think we'll run out of coltan from the congo a lot sooner :)

  7. Matt Kukowski

    Humanity is dieing. Scientists need to study Humanities as well. The fact that they think the robots need emotions is a positive note. But. the major think is that the Military needs to calm down or else we are toast. But, I hope we out grow this, when oil runs out and are forced towards the sun for energy.

    1. Simon Dahlström

      I bet there's scientists studying all sorts of matters.

      Well, we could always try and mine Helium 3 from the moon? Should serve as an awesome energy source? :O

  8. melloyeyo

    Having all this power with our destructive nature gives me many worries. Civilization isn't mature enough to manage anything capable of destroying without using it towards itself. Just think in the computer virus. Who is so sick to make something that can harm just for fun? Lots of people are...every day.

    1. Jacek Walker

      All these "shiny wonders" will bring about more trouble than fun until we got rid of sociopthas who infested basically all governments and corporations.
      People don't need more information and data rammed into their heads. They're already confused.
      Funny that some can talk merrily for hours about internet in sun glasses while all around as - nature, forests, rivers, animals are carelessly put into extinction.
      I am not aginst playing with XXI century toys but first and foremost wake up and see what is really important!

  9. Laye Mehta

    Michio Kaku is 3 times smarter than Stephen Hawking

  10. smugg

    i reckon all this has the purpose of turning the earth into a massive spaceship so when the sun runs out we can migrate to another star system. No i m not joking...

    1. Laye Mehta

      Umm, you must be, because Earth cannot be turned into a spaceship, the amount of propelling needed would take BILLIONS and TRILLIONS and QUINTILLIONS of dollars and We would need propellers the size of Venus, so yeah.

    2. smugg

      in the future there will be no need for propellers, it will be done by mastering the electromagnetism on a huge scale. i m not joking this time either :)

  11. smugg

    i want those electrodes in my brain too, i m so tired of drugs...

  12. Mathan19

    More and more the technology comes, the more humans are going to lose their skills. It may look fascinating to see a car drives on its own or the computer which can do lot of calculations but in reality humans are losing their knowledge to calculate with their own mind or to drive. 99% of the humankind does not know about the technology but they know only how to use it. But as a whole they will lose their skills. Its not we are entering into a "Age of mastery", but entering into a "Age of mystery", thats more appropriate.

    1. Pat Bayns

      smarter today than yesterday by doing less with more but wiser yesterday than today because we did more with less.

  13. Mathan19

    More and more the technology comes, the more humans are going to lose their skills. It may look fascinating to see a car drives on its own or the computer which can do lot of calculations but in reality humans are losing their knowledge to calculate with their own mind or to drive. 99% of the humankind does not know about the technology but they know only how to use it. But as a whole they will lose their skills. Its not we are entering into a "Age of mastery", but entering into a "Age of mystery", thats more appropriate.

    1. johnBas5

      There are people alive today who got their drivers license when the requirements were very low. As in, if you asked for a drivers license you only needed to know which pedals to use and what side of the road to drive in.
      Some of these people are still alive today. We are not really entering into an age of mystery but merely making this more obvious, more direct that most people don't know jack shit about technology around them.

  14. Letchumanan Balasubramaniam

    I get more worried about loss of humanity just after watching the first part. Examples like Second Life and Robotics remind me of the movie Surrogates. I personally feel we need to make smart decisions about the way we deal with technology and understand the repercussions well. Humans tend to have the habit of going off on tangent due to some cool factor.

  15. tariqxl

    I heard a whisper about the star trek like replicators I thought it would come down to manipulation of the higgs boson projecting a hologram and giving it mass. The nano bots sound cool in 2036 we can teleport them onto apophis and the earth will hit by grey goo instead

  16. Dr. Saturn

    Boing Boing! @The Intelligence Revolution ?16:40 – MR. SATURN ALERT!!! Ding!

  17. Fernando

    the intelligence revolution = freaking scary !!!!
    get real people!

  18. Jacob

    Wow, This documentary makes me so glad I'm going to live into the 2080s!

  19. Knud Sandbæk Nielsen

    It starts off real neatly:
    "We have uncovered:"

    Secrets of matter? Why is matter, then? Because why is still the secret.

    Molecule of life? Life is not clearly defined. Look under matter.

    Artificial intelligence? Intelligence is not clearly defined. Look under life.

    The secret is: why?
    Nobody knows.

    What we know is merely how. Barely. The ocean is still a mystery, both the metaphor and the big, wet thing that covers three quarters of the earth.

    1. Johnny Sarcastic

      'Why' is the question that only YOU have to answer to.

  20. M

    part 1 10:20

    ... epitaph for humanity ?

  21. Heather

    One thing to consider about cloning farm animals is that if it becomes a widely adopted technology (and it will have to be for farmers to remain competitive), then it will drastically reduce the genetic diversity of each breed, since farmers only want the "best" individuals. Less genetic diversity means greater vulnerability to bacterial, viral, or fungal infections that could wipe out millions of individual animals faster than we could react to stop it. It's a threat to our food security.

    1. johnBas5

      Farm meat will be replaced by atomically manufacturing things.

  22. K.T

    I fail to see why it is unethical to have robots. Do you think it more ethical to have humans serve each other's needs? That is downright cruel from the moment we can have machines do it instead.
    People watch too many hollywood movies. Cloning is a simple thing nature does also when creating identical twins. Never saw anyone complain about those. If one cow produces 50 pounds more meat then cloning this cow means we will have to kill LESS cows to feed the same amount of people. Forget X-men mutants and silly WW2 eugenics films, that is fiction.
    As for robotics forget "I robot" and think about a clerk that does NOT feel tired (feels nothing actually), a miner that does not die from lung disease due to hard working conditions, an excavator that saves you when buildings fall on you, you won't say no when it saves your time and life.
    People will always complain that "the old ways" were best without fully considering how blessed they are to be living now and not back then. If you do not like the larger life expectancy and the easier gaining of information it is a sign of depression, not a problem of the present.

    1. john kay

      @ K.T. The answer to your question is --> because of people like me
      for instance, i am currently auctioning off a new robot ive created just for the ladies

      SEXBot v12"

      Why have never-ready when you can have ever-ready!

      Batteries sold separately

    2. johnBas5

      You would think they would realize this with the technologies where the benefits are relatively obvious, but no.

  23. Deniz S

    Humans are being dehumanised at a rapid speed... I am all for Science but not for dehumanisation, virtual reality, pet robots and all those, damn what world are we going to live??? Humanity needs ethics and LOVE!!!

    1. johnBas5

      Nothing prevents you from having ethics and LOVE in a world filled with those advanced technologies.

  24. andy

    blade runner (the movie) is a documentary and i would rather be dead than live in the world these scientist's (who bows to robots) salivates over

  25. yare

    this technology is going to help a lot of mega rich/powerful people extend their life, maybe even double their years on this earth.

  26. Krissto

    Love watching Michio Kaku! Always interesting issues!

  27. M.R.

    @ Joseph

    I wholly agree with you in regards to modern society being more open to new ideas than it was in the past (the difference is staggering when religion is suppressed). I believe that religion has caused mankind the greatest setback of all: progress. It has dimmed down the advance of technology for much more than 2000 years. And it still keeps technology in check too much.

    However, I can't say we'd be better off without it. The moral and ethical beliefs that come from religion is what keeps us from anarchy, and that is what I appreciate it for. As for the future, I can only hope we go away from believing some religious beliefs are better than others and move towards accepting and respecting everyone for what they share in common.

    But given that the world is much more complex than it seems, I can only wonder what destruction could be caused by the greedy and corrupt souls that litter the higher classes of society.

  28. Joseph V

    The topics raised in this video present some shaking and important questions that will require answers as we progress in the 21st century. I think the most important thing to commit to in the face of change is an open mind. Too often in history we have seen new ideas emerge that were forcefully shunned because they did not conform to the prevailing zeitgeist of the age. Our modern culture is inherently more open to new ideas I think, which is a reason why technology has progressed exponentially in recent years. Ultimately, only time will determine whether our choices continue to propel society towards enlightenment, or whether fear of the future constricts our progress and plateaus the forward advancement of intellect and science.

  29. Achems Razor


    The cable is kept under tension by the competing forces of gravity on Earth, and the outward rotational acceleration of the Planet in space.

  30. Tony


    You really don't know nothing about space and the laws of nature do you?

  31. Karen

    This should be filed under technology not science as it is mostly about the applications of scientific discoveries and what they could bring in the future.

    This film is full of a lot of lofty ideas and rhetoric. His premis is that we have mastered everything and then throughout the film talks about how much we have yet to master. Look around society and the world is a patchwork quilt of new technology layered on top of old technology and even that is in a bunch of scattered pockets. The truth is nothing made of matter lasts, the world is always changing and evolving and there is no area without problems. Instability and chasos is more the rule than ordered control. Things break down, things erode, and people are fickel.

    They told us CD's were indestructable to, remember.
    An elevator to outerspace. Yeh right! What are you going to tether cables to? Everything floats and moves in outerspace. As far as virtual reality goes eventually people are going to realize they want to have a life not just an ongoing fantacy. And personally I rather kick that walking robot than interact with it.

  32. Tom

    I believe that that cloning animals is a good thing, farmers have always tried to breed the best animals and they do this through inbreeding which leads to many diseases and deformities. Sure playing with animals dna is a scary feeling but we have the ability to choose how we use this new technology and like the documentary said we should be discussing these issues rather than withdrawing away from them. They are inevitable but if we debate them through thoughtful discussions we will use them in a better way than if they are just used on the black market.

    1. johnBas5

      Relax, farming will be replaced by the atom precise fabrication thing!

  33. hmm

    I'm very shocked to see farmers cater cloned animals. If this is the future than I don't know if I really want to live long enough to see the destruction of human beings. I fear the outlook of the next generation.

    1. johnBas5

      Relax, farming will be replaced by the atom precise fabrication thinghie!

  34. Kumar Sanghvi

    Totally awesome.
    A real good insight into what going to be in future...