The Future of the Mind

  • by Michio Kaku
  • Narrated by Feodor Chin
  • 15 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Physics of the Impossible, Physics of the Future and Hyperspace tackles the most fascinating and complex object in the known universe: the human brain.
For the first time in history, the secrets of the living brain are being revealed by a battery of high-tech brain scans devised by physicists. Now what was once solely the province of science fiction has become a startling reality. Recording memories, telepathy, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis are not only possible; they already exist.
The Future of the Mind gives us an authoritative and compelling look at the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world - all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics. One day we might have a "smart pill" that can enhance our cognition; be able to upload our brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; send thoughts and emotions around the world on a "brain-net"; control computers and robots with our mind; push the very limits of immortality; and perhaps even send our consciousness across the universe.
Dr. Kaku takes us on a grand tour of what the future might hold, giving us not only a solid sense of how the brain functions but also how these technologies will change our daily lives. He even presents a radically new way to think about "consciousness" and applies it to provide fresh insight into mental illness, artificial intelligence and alien consciousness.
With Dr. Kaku's deep understanding of modern science and keen eye for future developments, The Future of the Mind is a scientific tour de force - an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience.

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What the Critics Say

"In this expansive, illuminating journey through the mind, theoretical physicist Kaku (Physics of the Future) explores fantastical realms of science fiction that may soon become our reality. His futurist framework merges physics with neuroscience...applied to demonstrations that ‘show proof-of-principle’ in accomplishing what was previously fictional: That minds can be read, memories can be digitally stored, and intelligences can be improved to great extents. The discussion, while heavily scientific, is engaging, clear, and replete with cinematic references.... These new mental frontiers make for captivating reading." (Publishers Weekly )
"Kaku turns his attention to the human mind with equally satisfying results…. Telepathy is no longer a fantasy since scanners can already detect, if crudely, what a subject is thinking, and genetics and biochemistry now allow researchers to alter memories and increase intelligence in animals. Direct electrical stimulation of distinct brain regions has changed behavior, awakened comatose patients, relieved depression, and produced out-of-body and religious experiences…. Kaku is not shy about quoting science-fiction movies and TV (he has seen them all)… he delivers ingenious predictions extrapolated from good research already in progress." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Chin tells the story of the popularization of brain science with an up-tempo, keeping the listener's interest in the dense material.... This is an excellent attempt at bringing academic research to the layperson in audio format." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

More breadth than depth

Every so often an author makes a stab at, "what makes humans special from all other animals". Michio Kaku does his best through defining humans through their ability to simulate the future both in space and time. He uses this definition for human consciousness and specialness and goes about explaining all phenomena arising from the brain. There's almost no topic he doesn't touch, hypnosis, outer-body-experience, abnormal psychology, BMI (brain machine interface), and so on.

For each topic, he gives the history, the current state of the art and then some wild speculations about the topic. Each topic is covered widely but he doesn't have a chance to delve into in depth with the exception of the final chapter on Artificial Intelligence. He gives his all on that topic, and he even explains the Kurzweill's Singularity better than Kurzweil does.

I learned more about the right/left mind dichotomy in this book than I have from books dedicated to that topic because that kept popping up in most of the different topics he was covering. That part of the story was more interesting to me than the author's special definition of what makes humans special.

It's hard not to like an author who seems to know every episode of Star Trek or Twilight Zone and knows how to relate that to what he is writing about. If your anything like me, you probably love it when Michio Kaku appears on the Discovery Channel because he's going to give you a sound bite you will understand and can make your own.

Unfortunately, for me, the book is more sound bite than depth, but for some that will be why they like the book more than I do.
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- Gary "l'enfer c'est les autres"

"The brain is a machine" might be a limiting view

Some very interesting developments in the exploration and understanding of the human brain. Some of the applications of what is learned is great for people with disabilities. Other applications can enhance human bodies. Some applications can be frighteningly used to extract information or to control. Taking in the patterns across a number of brains for the same information is an interesting way to understand how to read (or send) information (the mechanistic version of telepathy or teleportation)

However, after listening to other Audible books about scientific exploration and consciousness, there is an impression of science in black-in-white from most of this book while there is already science in full color. Or, science in a box, while some scientists have already ventured beyond in-the-box thinking.

Surprisingly, the double-slit experiment was better explained near the end of the Audible book by Jim B. Tucker, Return to Life instead of here, by a physicist. The significance of the double-slit experiment to Consciousness was beautifully applied in Jim Tucker's second to last chapter. In Michio Kaku's book The Future of Mind, consciousness is defined simply and is very limited. In another Audible book, My Big TOE author Tom Campbell describes Consciousness in a much broader definition across a trilogy of books, and goes beyond a Physical Matter Reality to describe how PMR is one of many such subsets of a greater Non-Physical Matter Reality, or NPMR.

There are a number of scientists and authors who have spent decades studying Consciousness in a way that goes beyond the brain material that resides in the skull. After being exposed to their books, it feels like looking backward to have listened to this book.

Eben Alexander's book Proof of Heaven does much to refute the very limited consciousness and brain viewpoints espoused in this book by Michio Kaku, And in the audio cd set Seeking Heaven, also with Eben Alexander's input, there are some gracefully and powerfully articulated viewpoints on scientists who are missing the big picture with their mechanistic views on consciousness.

This book seemed so restricted and dismissive in some points of the very real work of scientists researching what materialistic mechanistic reductionist scientists won't deign to examine. Rupert Sheldrakes' audio book Science Set Free would be another I would like to recommend as an examination of this problem in science where skeptical or dismissive scientists limit what they will consider. Other Audible audio books that illustrate science that has been limited or controlled by another factor, money interests, are Salt,Sugar, Fat and The Big Fat Surprise.
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- Diana "Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-25-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio