Wednesday, September 23, 2015
1. I bought my first personal computer in 1994 and paid a small fortune to get the latest and greatest. In fact, I still use my original email address with AOL.com. My kids call me a dinosaur.
- When did you finally break down and purchase your first computer?
- What was that experience like and how have you integrated computers in your life up to the present?
2. “Moore’s law simply says that computer power doubles about every eighteen months. First stated in 1965 by Gordon Moore, one of the founders of the Intel Corporation, this simple law has helped to revolutionize the world economy, generated fabulous new wealth, and irreversibly altered our way of life.”
- Where have you seen “Moore’s Law” played out?
- What are the pros & cons of such rapid change for individuals and for society?
3. “Today, we can communicate with the Internet via our computers and cell phones. But in the future, the Internet will be everywhere—in wall screens, furniture, on billboards, and even in our glasses and contact lenses. When we blink, we will go online.”
- How would this change your daily life?
4. “In the near future, you will also be able to safely surf the Web via your contact lens while driving a car. Commuting to work won’t be such an agonizing chore because cars will drive themselves.”
- Where do we see this beginning to develop today?
- Would you prefer this mode of transportation?
5. Kaku goes on to discuss the emergence of four wall screens, flexible electronic paper, virtual worlds, medical care in the near future, and living in a fairy tale.
- Which of these offer the greatest promise & application?
6. Midcentury (2030 to 2070) will give us the end of Moore’s Law, the mixing of real and virtual reality (augmented reality), universal translators, and holograms & 3-D.
- Briefly discuss the impact of each.
7. Far future (2070 to 2100) will offer mind over matter, mind reading, photographing dreams, tricorders and portable brain scans, telekinesis and the power of the gods…oh, my!
- What are the practical and ethical challenges of such potential?
- What role might the Christian faith play in such a culture?
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
1. As a young child, Michio Kaku had lofty dreams of what he wanted to be and do as an adult.
- During your childhood, what did you dream of achieving as a grownup?
2. “The key to understanding the future,” Kaku writes, “is to grasp the fundamental laws of nature and then apply them to the inventions, machines, and therapies that will redefine our civilization far into the future.”
- What makes Kaku’s book different from most books that claim to predict the future?
3. “The prototypes of all these technologies already exist. As William Gibson, the author of Neuromancer who coined the word cyberspace, once said, ‘The future is already here. It’s just unevenly distributed.’”
- What is meant by that statement, and where do we witness it?
4. Kaku introduces us to the four fundamental forces in nature: gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the two nuclear forces, weak and strong. (The recently discovered fifth force of nature is Donald Trump…but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion!)
- How does the sum of these four forces of nature contribute to our lives today?
- What has our limited understanding of them allowed us to do…both for good and for harm?
5. “Now dare to imagine the world in the year 2100. By 2100, our destiny is to become like the gods we once worshiped and feared. But our tools will not be magic wands and potions, but the science of computers, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and most of all, the quantum theory, which is the foundation of the previous technologies.”
Kaku’s question: “But where is all this technological change leading? Where is the final destination in this long voyage into science and technology?”
Kaku’s answer: “The culmination of all these
upheavals is the formation of a planetary civilization, what physicists call a Type I civilization.”
What might that Type 1 civilization look like to you?
6. Kaku concludes his introduction: “The point is: whenever there is a conflict between modern technology and the desires of our primitive ancestors, these primitive desires win each time. That’s the Cave Man Principle.” He concludes, “So unless we genetically change our basic personality, we can expect that the power of entertainment, tabloid gossip, and social networking will increase, not decrease, in the future.”
- Seriously, can it get any worse?
7. “Of course, science is a double-edged sword; it creates as many problems as it solves, but always on a higher level. There are two competing trends in the world today: one is to create a planetary civilization that is tolerant, scientific, and prosperous, but the other glorifies anarchy and ignorance that could rip the fabric of our society. We still have the same sectarian, fundamentalist, irrational passions of our ancestors, but the difference is that now we have nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.”
- As Christians, what role will we play in addressing these two competing trends?
- How does our understanding of human nature (sin) and God’s redemptions through the death and resurrection of Jesus (salvation) prepare us for the swift currents of change ahead?