Progress: Overcoming the Limits

Progress: Overcoming the Limits
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Google wants to revolutionize everything, from the web to the car industry and Solve for X is the purest expression of this desire to exceed. I came across this interesting presentation by Neal Stephenson during one of these Solve for X forums. Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction. While his presentation focuses on the more apparent sides of progress (cars, planes, buildings) vs the more subtle continuous breakthroughs in Bio-Science, Genetics and Nanotechnologies, Stephenson casts an interesting perspective on some familiar technologies that didn’t evolve or worse, apparently went into regression.

As in most cases, progress spread is driven by the prospects of returns on investment or military superiority. Where would we be today if the car industry heavily invested in low consumption or electrical engines thirty years ago? Where would we be today if there was no race to dominate space during the cold war? Where could we be tomorrow if we start addressing real humanitarian challenges with massive investments?

Pr. Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist, the Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics in the City College of New York of City University of New York and the co-founder of string field theory. In his latest book, Physics of The Future, Pr Kaku speculates on the possibilities of future technological development over the next 100 years. Interviewing notable scientists of their field of research Kaku lays out his vision of coming developments in medicine, computing, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and energy production.

Few scientists are able to popularize science as well as Pr. Kaku, projecting himself in the realm of human dreams without censoring them with the technical limitations of the current state of science. The question is not whether these visions are realistic or if they will come true in the next 100 years but rather that we deeply believe that our imagination will lead the way to the most extraordinary things. There’s not limits but our imagination.

“The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible.”

Arthur C. Clarke

Photo Credits:
Buzz Aldrin salutes the U.S. Flag By NASA Goddard Photo and Video / FlickR
Col. Charles Lindbergh By Boston Public Library / FlickR