That’s Incredible: A Futurist Predicts Improving Health Care Based on Scientific Discoveries
Have you ever looked into the future? I know we all have our hands full with “the now” but recently I had the opportunity to look at what life may look like very soon as I listened to theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku. Kaku, a professor of Theoretical Physics at the City College of New York, is also the bestselling author of several books including “Physics of the Future” and “The Future of the Mind.”
|Photo Credit: Michael Paras|
A graduate of Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley Kaku has a laundry list of theories that I, a former English major, have no business trying to explain to you. He has popularized science with countless appearances on radio and television and also through his many articles that have appeared on blogs and in prestigious science journals worldwide.
If only he had been my science teacher in school, I would have found the subject endlessly fascinating. He reeled me in with his sense of humor and likability, and then hooked me with the probability that science will soon make our lives better, easier and more fun.
You’ve heard of Google Glass, right? The optical head-mount display designed into a pair of glasses that was supposed to be the next greatest invention since the smartphone? After spending $1,500/a pair Google was forced to stop making them after legislative action over privacy issues.
Kaku discussed Google Glass and explained that since its demise technology has grown and microchips have gotten smaller, both laying the groundwork for some incredible technological advances.
Consider if you will:
Scientists in Seattle are working on Internet contact lens prototypes that will change the way we use the Internet. Blink! You’re on the Internet. Blink! You’re dialing a phone number!
He predicts that by mid-century every organ of the body can be grown in the laboratory except for the brain. The brain will have brain tissue injected directly into it to help with symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and MS. It’ll be like a human body shop.
(NOTE: We already know that work is now being done on regenerative medicine for MS.)
Think about people who die from organ failure or car crashes who could now be saved with organs grown in laboratories.
This next prediction (always based on science) reminded me of something right out of the old cartoon show The Jetsons. It’s about genomic medicine which, in plain English, means we’ll all have an owner’s manual about our genes.
Think about going to a doctor’s office to give saliva and blood which will then spit out a disc listing all the genes in our body. This new disc will be our guide about our health and what preventive medicine we need to use to help our bodies before illness strikes.
What about cancer? This will no longer be a mystery. Hold onto your hat. In the future there will be sensors within the mirrors of our bathroom that will detect the genetic mutations we’ve inherited. When you breathe on the mirror or go to the toilet you’ll be able to analyze yourself using “DNA chips” present in the bathroom. WOW!
According to Kaku, “The word ‘tumor” will be eliminated from the English language.” Let us hope so.
And what if you need to see a doctor right away? What if you think you’re having a heart attack in the middle of the night? Simply walk over to your wallpaper – yes, your wallpaper – and a holographic image will emerge and “perhaps a software program will answer 98% of all common problems.”
Can you imagine our clothes monitoring our heartbeats, recognizing an emergency and then uploading our medical history onto the web, alert ambulances, locate you via GPS and alert authorities about your emergency? Unbelievable.
Of course there is always criticism, particularly about invasion of privacy issues. But Kaku believes in science and is confident this can all be worked out in the name of better health.
His magnetic energy and belief in science is palpable. He wants to help us live better, healthier and longer lives.
I’m with him.
NOTE: Michio Kaku was the last speaker of the 2015-2016 season of the New Jersey Speakers Series at the New Jersey Performing Arts Centers, sponsored by Fairleigh Dickinson University. This is my second season writing about the incredible speakers who have appeared there that include Alan Alda, David McCullough, Madeleine Albright and Steve Wozniak.