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Michio Kaku Talks About Coming Breakthroughs

Stashed in: Reddit!, Science!, Brain, Awesome, Siri, The Future, Turing, Alzheimer's, Hive Mind, Accelerating Returns, AMA

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While Kaku's cursory approach annoyed some Redditors (the top-voted response brings up problems with string field theory like its lack of testable theses that he did not address), it allowed him to respond to a wide array of fascinating scientific questions.

Kaku's media tour is meant to promote his new book, "The Future Of The Mind." Some highlights from Reddit:

On coming breakthroughs:

"Time travel and teleportation will have to wait. It may take centuries to master these technology. But within the coming decades, we will understand dark matter, perhaps test string theory, find planets which can harbor life, and maybe have Brain 2.0, i.e. our consciousness on a disk which will survive even after we die.

"I think, in the coming years, we will have a brain pacemaker that can stimulate the memory of people with Alzheimer's disease. They will be able to upload simple memories of who they are and where they live. Beyond that, we will be able to use electronics to upload vacations we never had, perhaps. And the internet itself will be a brain-net of emotions and memories.


On "Her":

"I have not seen the movie, but I think it's only a matter of time. Today, it is still easy to tell if you are talking to a computer. Computers have no sense of self-awareness, and cannot master common sense very well. But this is a technical question, so I think that, in the coming decades, we will have something like Her."


Of all the things he's talking about, it's Brain 2.0 that I find most fascinating.

We have SO MUCH to learn about the brain, Geege.

Please stash anything interesting about the brain that you find in your internet travels...

Brain pacemaker idea? Fascinating!

Downloading memories? Yes please!

I definitely need to scour that Reddit AMA for more cool thoughts:

I'm still waiting for reliable voice command on all electronic devices ;)

Funny you should mention that .....

"But unlike the mouse, clickwheel, and touchscreen — or bicycle pedals — Siri doesn't work 100% of the time. 

In fact, according to a report from Pipar Jaffray's Apple analyst, Gene Munster, it only works about 79% of the time.

That's too rare — by about 21%. 

Steven Sinofsky, who led development of the very successful Windows 7, says on his blog that "a general UX principle…is anytime you push some feature on your customer you really want it to be right (correct, useful, helpful) for him/her 100% of the time."

"If not, chances are your customer will recall the negatives of the feature far more than the positives."

Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if the touchscreen only worked 79% of the time? Very few people would have ever bought an iPhone."

A year later. No progress yet. But now there are new startups working on the problem.

Expect a huge leap ahead sometime in the next 20 years. 

Right, two years later we are still waiting for reliable voice command on all devices. 

Yes it needs to be more reliable, but I would almost take Siri, and her mistakes over me trying to scroll through an alphabet with a TV remote.

Trying to search for a show, would be so much nicer to say:  "Siri, search for Game of Thrones", and have her say "Let me find that for you" and 'here is what I found for Game of Thrones".

Another occasion was during skiing.  I have a bluetooth helmet, so I can listen to music, and can take calls, but it will only call the last person you called at a touch of a button.  I got a text the other day, heard the sound associated with it, but was helpless to read it, unless I stopped, pealed layers off, dug my phone out, got out my glasses.  Would have been nice to say "Siri, read me the text"  which she can do, but I needed a mic in my helmet, and I would like to be able to say make a call to anyone I want.

I think this is going to be the next biggest move, hands-free life, no more scrolling, no more typing, just say it, and it's done.  Many companies have been working on this for years already, it's time it goes to the next level.  The applications are limitless! 

I guess the problem is it most likely won't be one company to come out with it, rather every company will need to develop it for their equipment.  Maybe one company can develop a chip of voice recognition, with a command board, that it can then sell to all other companies: Tivo, Refrigerators, Coffee makers, Lights, Curtains, Phones, Music Player devices etc.  Then they can program the voice recognition and commands specifically to their device.

Compute power needs to get a little better...

...but it will get better soon. Startups are definitely working on solving this problem. 

Seems like several companies are working on this but so far the breakthrough hasn't happened. 

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