Glenn Reynolds, of Instapundit fame, reviewed Michio Kaku's new book, "Physics of the Future", for the Wall Street Journal. Yet, is it wise to allow an optimistic review of an optimistic book? For Reynolds, with some personal touches, treats the book as a survey of what he believes possible. I could not find any phrase where Reynolds disagrees with the author.
This is not meant as a criticism of Reynold's review. His approach is to promote his enthusiasm and acceptance of Kaku's visions of the future, a goal that I share. But there are other views: opposed to such technological advances, or more attentive to the risks. Reynolds alludes to these with his quote from Vernor Vinge:
I am inclined to agree with Mr. Kaku's largely optimistic view of the future. But I am also reminded of science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge's warning about technology empowering individuals to the point that it could put "world-killer weapons in the hands of anyone having a bad hair day."
The message of what technology could potentially do for you is a strong advertisement for optimism about the future. Yet, at the same time, the future is in danger of becoming commonplace.
We all share that sense of wonder derived from science and science fiction, where we are imbued with the shock of the new. But as change as picked up: the next Ipad, the next smartphone, the newest drug becomes expected. I can not be sure, from Reynold's review, that Kaku's latest vision carries the wonders, the dangers and the difficulties of the future. Best to read it then!