Michio Kaku, author of “The Future of The Mind”, a theoretical physicist and professor at the City University of New York is a mastermind. In this book, Kaku takes readers to explore the tales of science fiction, which he believes might become the reality. Kaku visits different aspects of the brain and mind by combining physics with neuroscience to model how our brains will construct the future.
However, Kaku lacks generalizability– his explanation of emotions and memory transferring into another person’s head is flawed, relying heavily from research studies. He supports his bold ideas with small studies but ignores the alternation explanation as to how will the future will be enhanced by neuroscience. He overestimates world issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, inaccurately Kaku believes that there will be a time in the future where our memories can be played into another person’s head or in a robot.
How will this work? For instance, during a memorable moment such as at a wedding, Kaku visualizes the bride’s thoughts and emotions being stored on a disc by recording the electrical and magnetic signals of the bride. After a few years later, the bride’s memory can be transferred into her daughter’s brain, and she will be able to relive her mother’s happiest moments in an instant. Kaku’s prediction of brain signals generating and transferring the same pattern of neural activity from one person to another is seriously flawed. Being able to generate an exact copy is nearly impossible, because the recipient’s brain may not react to the signals exactly as the sender’s copy, it would contribution differently depending on that person’s psychological state.
Hence, even if it was possible to send to the recipient, it is highly unlikely that the latter would duplicate the mental state of the sender. Each brain generates different signals and receives signals differently. Just imagine two exact cups sitting on the table, about 3 feet away from each other– if we look at it from the left angle, then the left cup will be bigger, but if we see it from the right, then the left cup becomes smaller as the right cup seem bigger even though they are the exact same cup. This is the same as how our brain works, there are many different viewpoints, not just left or right, our brain is much more complicated than we think and it’s difficult for the brain to access exactly as is. Kaku doesn’t justify his claims and only simply explains the science behind how it works. Being able to duplicate memory from person A to person B is almost saying as if we want to copy person A’s DNA and put it into person B. We are so unique individually, each of us experiences different things and react differently. It may seem like a dream come true, but I am afraid to say it is nearly impossible for anyone to experience the mental state of their mother’s wedding.
The exact cause of mental issues still remains uncertain, but psychiatrist will not be happy with Kaku’s claim that, “Mental issues is largely caused by the disruption of the delicate checks and balances between competing feedback loops that stimulates the future,usually because one region of the brain is overactive or underactive” (Kaku, 205) Surprisedly, Kaku does not mention the variety causes of mental illness, instead only focuses on being overactive or underactive being the cause. According to WebMD, “Mental illness can be caused by a combination of genetics, biology, psychological and environmental factors– not personal weakness or a character defect– and recovery from a mental illness is not simply a matter of will and self-discipline.”
Surprisingly, Kaku does not mention the biological factors involved with mental illness but instead he describes the neurodynamics. He also fails to acknowledge that the main cause of most most mental illness with children or adults, is growing up with parents who are not well educated and financially unstable. In addition, Kaku overestimates Alzheimer’s disease, giving inaccurate facts. Major world issue Personally, I did not enjoy reading this book. Kaku only briefly mentions on what human should do to overcome the expansion of intelligence without elaborating on the reasons as of how. Even though, these ideas are captivating, Kaku’s optimism and enthusiasms only cover the overhyped claims.
The discussions are heavily scientific and the places for the processes in our daily life is rarely explained. I think this is recommended for people are are into the simply ideas of neuroscience and physics but not meant for those that wants to understand the process. Kaku relies on science fiction which doesn’t give us a reality point of view. He leaves the readers with no answer and we are left with no resolution. With long term significance explained, he doesn’t justify his claims, instead only explains the science without the background or the mathematical and biological reasonings.
Even though Kaku describes the different functions of the brain, he ignores the initial phases of the cascade that starts with an event generating the brain followed by the outcome of the initial psychology. These are the phases that neuroscientists and readers hope to understand. However, Kaku only focuses on his own interested of the event when the cascade follows the initial brain state, to a sequence of psychological outcome and new brain states.
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