Dubai: From using the human brain to operate computers to connecting with life on other planets and humans living forever, one of the world’s leading futurists predicted an astounding future ahead at the inaugural Dubai Future Forum on Tuesday.
American theoretical physicist and futurist Dr Michio Kaku was answering queries by Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and managing director of Dubai Future Foundation, in a fireside conversation on technologies powering the future and why we should focus on the future.
Also on Tuesday, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation osaid the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has transformed Dubai into a leading city of the future and a testbed for groundbreaking innovation and emerging technologies.
Speaking on the occasion of the inaugural Dubai Future Forum, an annual event hosted by the Dubai Future Foundation featuring over 400 of the world’s top futurists, Sheikh Hamdan said Sheikh Mohammed’s farsighted strategy has enabled Dubai to set a global example for future readiness and technology adoption.
At the Forum, when asked to predict the next 10 years, Dr Kaku said people would be able to go online instantly with the blink of an eye using futuristic contact lenses.
“You simply blink and you will be online…College students studying for final exams would be first to buy such contact lenses… They will blink and see all the answers are right there,” he said, to a loud laughter from the audience.
His prediction for the immediate future included hydrogen from seawater providing unlimited energy. Dr Kaku also predicted about detecting cancer from bodily fluids.
Currently, he said, a simple blood test is available commercially to detect 50 types of cancer. “In the future, in your bathroom, your bodily fluids will be analysed quietly, and it will tell you if you will have cancer in five to 10 years.”
In such scenarios, the word tumour will disappear as people would treat cancer like common cold, he said.
Though we may not cure cancer, it won’t kill anyone anymore, according to him.
Era of ‘brain-net’
Dr Kaku also predicted an era of what he described as “brain-net” as computers will be connected to human minds and we will have telepathy to know other people’s minds.
“Within 50 years, the word ‘digital’ will disappear from the English language because computers will be part of neurons. We will connect the computers to the brain. So we will have telepathy. We will think and turn on the internet, turn on the lights, move objects, manage everything mentally. This means that the internet will become brain-net. We will telepathically communicate with the people. We will record memories and emotions on the internet.”
In such a scenario, he predicted that movies and television could become obsolete.
Quantum computers to immortality
Dr Kaku said quantum computers that work at molecular levels will be able to cure diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer.
With genetic engineering, errors in the human genome can be corrected and it can lead to immortality of human beings, he said
“Once we conquer the diseases, there is a possibility of immortality, that is living beyond our years…For the first time in history, we can actually think of living forever.”
Dr Kaku said that people will also have digital immortality. All that is recorded on the internet will create future avatars of people, he said.
“It will create an avatar that looks like you, talks like you, has your memories, and can speak to your great great great grandchildren. You will live forever digitally.”
He envisioned a bright future for the world with the right use of technology. He also believed technology and the internet would give voice to the voiceless and empower the human race.
Contact with aliens
Asked about when humans would be able to connect with beings on other planets, he replied that it could happen in this century.
“In this century, there is a very good chance that we will pick up a signal from another planet and that could be a tremendous event in human history because it has never happened, meeting with another civilisation, probably more advanced than ours.”
Dr Kaku said the real wealth comes from science and technology rather than from printed money or taxes. He lauded the UAE and Dubai for its futuristic vision using science and technology.
Designing future of region
He then asked the minister about the goals of the Museum of the Future. Al Gergawi took the opportunity to highlight the role of the UAE in leading the region to a better future.
“Our journey has been a journey for the humanity… from no road to going to Mars last year.”
According to the minister, the UAE considers the 7.8 billion people in the world as its stakeholders. He said the ministers and government officials here are designers of the future and the Museum of the Future is a beacon of hope and is designing the future for better human awareness.