Beam me up! Second Life and the Physics of the Impossible

My latest mind-crush is Dr. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist with a knack for making the weird and entangled framework of String theory accessible to mere mortals like us.

In 2008, Dr. Kaku wrote a book called Physics of the Impossible in which he considers the credible scientific evidence and theory behind the dreams of science fiction of which we are all so familiar.

In this talk given entitled “The World in 2030: How Science will Affect Computers, Medicine, Jobs, Our Lifestyles and the Wealth of our Nations” in 2009, Dr. Kaku postulates a bright future that will sound very familiar to Second Life residents. I urge you to watch the talk, though I highlight the similarities below.

Dr. Kaku speculates that in the next 10-50 years, we’ll be

  • using internet glasses (like the Oculus Rift and Google Glasses) and internet contact lenses to interact with our world (00:14:00)
  • using contemporaneous translators when traveling, similar to the ones we now use in Second Life (00.16.50)
  • walking through virtual augmented simulations in the physical world, which reminds me of several historically based sims in Second Life (00:17:00)
  • communicating with intelligent wallpaper when looking to hook up with someone – which is what many of our Adult Second Life groups are used for right now (00:19:00)
  • enjoying classic movies over the internet, but instead of seeing well-known actors play the roles, we’ll be acting as the characters ourselves, like my theatre company and I did for Paradise Lost in Second Life earlier this year (00:20:10)
  • able to enjoy a thanksgiving dinner simultaneously attended by our friends all over the world, which I did for Thanksgiving 2013 (00:21.30)

What follows is a fascinating exploration into the future of healthcare (using our toilets as diagnostic devices signalling the onset of disease well before they become emergencies), the growing of vital organs and body parts from our own stem-cells, and the current state and future possibilities of artificial intelligence.

At 00:33:00 Dr. Kaku talks about the real possibility of full invisibility in the physical world, which we can do in Second Life with a full body alpha (or even more surreptitiously, our alts).

At 00:34:40 he talks about the real possibility of quantum teleportation in the physical world – Star Trek style – which every Second Life resident conveniently enjoys several times a day.

Phoenix One Station - III
Beam me up Caitlin Tobias! (taken by Caity at Phoenix One Station – III)

At 00:35:25 he discusses the science behind telepathy as shown by humans controlling objects via nothing but thought with the BrainGate – a brain-computer interface, which is surely the end-game for virtual reality interface devices.

Discussing the far future (well beyond 2070), Dr. Kaku talks about NASA’s credible designs for an interstellar star ship (think: USS Enterprise) and the theoretical possibility of time travel through worm holes.

During questions, Dr. Kaku talks about stopping the ageing process – which reminds me of our ageless avatars in Second Life (00:55:00).

This is exciting stuff that serves to remind us about how lucky we are to take part in Second Life today, where we can (at least virtually) enjoy walking through a window through time as we explore the things that theoretical physicists can still only dream of, but may well come to pass in the near and distant future.

Many of us won’t be casting a shadow 50 years from today, but isn’t it amazing that we at least have a chance to experience a glimmer of the stuff we’ve only seen in science fiction, right now in the present moment?

Of course, we need to survive as a species long enough to get past the massive challenges facing our world in the coming few decades (I’m not joking at all) to have a hope of experiencing any of this. But if we can make it, the future looks a lot like Second Life today.

And here’s how Dr. Kaku would build a teleporter:

3 thoughts on “Beam me up! Second Life and the Physics of the Impossible

  1. Becky, Thank you for these wonderful pieces that you write. I just got up, half bleary eyed with sleep, Christmas music softly playing in the background. While the coffee quietly brews, I read my morning “Becky”. Who needs the drivel in the newspaper? Please continue writing. You are absolutely splendid. Your well meaning but sometimes clumsy “true blue” friend, Jack.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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