Humans are going to terraform Mars. And communicate with aliens. And merge with robots. And possibly find the key to immortality, or at least something close, if you believe uber-physicist Michio Kaku.
“We'll think of things, and things will come true,” Kaku told NBC Mach in an exclusive interview. That would be easy for the co-founder of string field theory and the author of a book called The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth to say.
Kaku is surprisingly optimistic about what he believes humanity can accomplish, never mind that most of it sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie—but some things that were science fiction fifty years ago are now actually science. He thinks we can last longer than Earth if we know where to go and how to survive. Like Stephen Hawking, who has warned that we need to get off this planet in 600 years, Kaku sees our future ultimately happening in space.
“Extinction is the norm. It's almost a law of physics that one day Mother Nature will destroy Earth,” Kaku said, though he did add “No one is talking about evacuating Earth and going to Mars. I want a plan B just in case Mother Nature turns on us, or the folly of humanity gets out of control.”
We’ve already terraformed Earth without realizing it, if you ask Kaku. Our species has managed to alter the climate. While the physicist does think we can eventually derive most of our energy from seawater with fusion technology (which doesn’t leave behind nuclear sludge like the fission reactors that might come to mind when you think of nuclear energy), he questions why we don’t just terraform Mars if we have shown we can already change our own planet. The difference would be that we would actually make Mars livable.
Martians are unlikely to exist, so Earthlings could probably live on the Red Planet without any hostile encounters. But what about other hypothetical extraterrestrials?
“The first thing we have to do is figure out how advanced they are,” Kaku said. This could potentially tell us how much danger we could be in if they do want to fire ray guns at us. Aliens with advanced brains could be anywhere from a hundred to a hundred thousand years ahead of us technologically, so they might be able to vaporize us faster than we could blink, though Kaku doesn’t see that as likely. They could plunder other planets for natural resources. What they are more likely to do is look at us as some sort of exotic curiosity. Make that even more exotic if we can outlive them.
Organisms like us may never be immortal in the sense of Wonder Woman, but we could get close. Kaku is confident in biotechnology being the answer to giving us a lifespan we probably wouldn’t think possible without supernatural intervention. Artificial intelligence will be able to recognize DNA sequences from millions of genomes, find where aging occurs, and possibly reverse or at least slow the process.
Now about our consciousness soaring through the universe. That would be a kind of immortality in itself, achieved by injecting human minds into robots. The Human Connectome Project, which will compile neural data and navigate the human brain like we never imagined, will be instrumental in sending the human mind to places the body may not be able to withstand. Kaku predicts the project should be completed by the end of the century.
“We're going to put the connectome on a laser beam and shoot it to the moon. In one second, our consciousness is on the moon,” he said. “In 20 minutes we're on Mars, eight hours we're on Pluto, in four years our consciousness has reached the nearest star.”
Minds across the universe are destined to be blown.
(via NBC Mach)