Eternal Life Does Not Violate the Laws of Physics - "We Will Be Gods"
2012-10-03 0:00


In his best-selling book "Physics of the Future," American professor Michio Kaku lays out his vision for the world in 2100. Kaku, the son of Japanese immigrants, spoke to SPIEGEL about a future in which toilets will have health monitoring sensors and contact lenses will be connected to the Internet.

SPIEGEL: Professor Kaku, in your book you write about how we will be like gods in the future. Are you saying that our grandchildren will be gods? Isnít that a bit immodest?

Kaku: Just think for a moment about our forefathers in the year 1900. They lived to be 49 years old on average and traveled with horse-drawn wagons. Long distance communication was yelling out the window. If these people could see us today with mobile phones at our ears, Facebook on our screens and traveling with planes they would consider us wizards.

SPIEGEL: Itís still a big step to go from wizards to gods.

Kaku: So what do gods do? Apollo has unlimited power from the sun, Zeus can turn himself into a swan or anything else and Venus has a perfect body. Gods can move objects with their mind, rearrange things, and have perfect bodies. Our grandchildren will be able to do just that.

SPIEGEL: Letís do a little time traveling. Close your eyes and imagine waking up on a September morning in the year 2112. What do you see?

Kaku: More important than what I see, is what will be omnipresent. Intelligence will be everywhere in the future, just like electricity is everywhere today. We now just assume that thereís electricity in the walls, the floor, the ceiling. In the future we will assume that everything is intelligent, so intelligence will be everywhere and nowhere. As children, we will be taught how to manipulate things around us just by talking to them and thinking. Children will believe that everything is alive.


SPIEGEL: I assume that you mean to make ourselves prettier, stronger and generally better?

Kaku: Those ambitions will be there.

SPIEGEL: As we get a better handle on genetic technologies, wonít there be more of an urge to create designer babies?

Kaku: We need a debate about these issues. This is going to create societal problems. You have to have an educated public democratically debating how far to push our beautiful children and the human race.

SPIEGEL: Will we eventually be able to conquer death?

Kaku: Eternal life does not violate the laws of physics, surprisingly enough. After all, we only die because of one word: "error." The longer we live, the more errors there are that are made by our bodies when they read our genes. That means cells get sluggish. The body doesnít function as well as it could, which is why the skin ages. Then organs eventually fail, so thatís why we die.

SPIEGEL: What can we do about that?

Kaku: We know the genes that correct these things. So if we use genetic repair mechanisms, we might be able to repair cells so they donít wear out, so they just keep on going. That is as real possibility. We will also be able to regenerate organs by growing new ones. That can already be done now.

SPIEGEL: Then we will get rid of death?

Kaku: In principle, yes.

SPIEGEL: Then how will we decide who gets to live and who must die? Who will be allowed to have children?

Kaku: I donít think children or overpopulation are going to be a problem. When people live longer, they have fewer children. We see that in Japan, the US and in other countries where prosperity, education and urbanization are on the rise.

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