The tech/no series is a wonderful opportunity for us to not only explore the societal impacts of technologies and take time to reflect on them, but also to discuss what the future will bring. I can think of no better speaker to bring to Bucknell (however unlikely it is that we could get him) than Michio Kaku. Mr. Kaku is a theoretical physicist who graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University and received his Ph.D. from Berkeley. He has become world renowned for his uncanny ability to popularize and translate incredibly complex scientific and physics principles into layman’s terms, and hosts several shows on BBC, the History Channel, the Science Channel and the Discovery Channel, when he is not too busy teaching at City College in New York or inventing string field theory.
If you are not a Michio Kaku fan, I recommend you start immediately. A sci-fi dork myself, I tend to fantasize about future technology, especially in hard science fiction, or the kinds where the authors base their predictions on real science. For example, as much as I worship Star Wars, it is full of simply cool shit, where there are superlasers and faster-than-light travel and other epic, make-believe technologies; however, if you watch a movie like Avatar, the spaceships are based off of solar-sail models currently being considered by NASA that go 0.6c, robotics are powered by superconductors and advanced, low-friction ceramic-composites, etc. Mr. Kaku is famous for predicting a very realistic future, with specific timelines for specific technologies currently in research; some will be finished soon, others could take another 60 years to develop. However, he has spent his entire life predicting the behavior of the universe, he’s wicked smaht (ha, Harvard reference), and he’s pretty damn good at figuring out what’s going to happen next. I recently read his book, Physics of the Future, which is an excellent read for anyone with any remote interest in technology and the future of humanity, and in which he discusses his generally-agreed-upon view of the future of humanity. And it is pretty spectacular.
The main reason I think Michio Kaku would be so perfect for Bucknell is due to his familiarity with extremely advanced technology and his willingness to share this with as many people as possible. I think it would be good for Bucknell and the future leaders of society to take a hard look into the future and evaluate that reality as well. But part of Mr. Kaku’s appeal is also his willingness to share the dark side of technology. Unlike some science fiction/futurist experts, who have unyielding faith in science and only believe that technology will create a paradise, Mr. Kaku is very wary of many of the potential dangers that major scientific breakthroughs can bring. I have provided a link to a brief intro video below discussing just some small highlights, but he is full of these insights and, luckily, enjoys sharing them with as many people as possible. I think Michio Kaku would be the highlight of the tech/no series and is, regardless, one of the most important voices of modern day to listen to, whether you are from the scientific community or not.