Michio Kaku

  • Aired:  02/25/14
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Theoretical physicist and "The Future of the Mind" author Michio Kaku discusses cutting-edge advances in brain research and technology. (8:09)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT A THEORETICALPHYSICIST, BEST SELLING AUTHOR

HIS NEW BOOK IS CALLED THEFUTURE OF THE MIND.

THE SCIENTIFIC QUEST TOUNDERSTAND,

ENHANCE AND EMPOWER THE MIND.

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAMMICHIO KAKU.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>> THANKS.

>> Jon: HOW ARE YOU?

>> VERY GOOD.

VERY GOOD.

>> Jon: THANK YOU FOR BEINGHERE.

>> GLAD TO BE ON.

>> Jon: THE FUTURE OF THEMIND.

THIS IS -- I THINK, A SUBJECTWHICH IS SO DIFFICULT FOR US TO

COMPREHEND AND IT -- YOU FINDYOURSELF IN A FEEDBACK LOOP OF

STUPIDITY.

[ LAUGHTER ]FOR ME -- THE PREMISE IS THAT

THE MIND IS SOMETHING THAT WEWILL FIND DOWNLOADABLE TO SOME

EXTENT.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

THINK OF ALL THE COLLEGE COURSESTHAT WE FLUNKED WHEN WE WERE

YOUNGER, ALL THE COURSES WE CUT.

WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO HAVE A PLAYBUTTON.

YOU HIT THE PLAY BUTTON, AND YOUUPLOAD MATHEMATICS, UPLOADCALCULUS INTO YOUR BRAIN.

IT'S BEEN DONE ON A SMALL LEVELWITH MICE.

WE CAN ACTUALLY UPLOAD MEMORIES.

>> Jon: IS THAT MOUSE'S NAMEALGERNON BY ANY CHANCE?

BECAUSE I KNOW HOW THIS ENDS?

[LAUGHTER]>> EVENTUALLY WE'LL DO IT WITH

PRIMATES AND EVENTUALLY PERHAPSWITH ALZHEIMER'S PATIENTS.

WE'LL HAVE A BRAIN PACEMAKERTHAT ALLOWS US TO UPLOAD

MEMORIES TO A DAMAGEDHIPPOCAMPUS, LOCATED RIGHT HERE,SO THAT PEOPLE THAT HAVE

ALZHEIMER'S WILL HAVE MEMORYAGAIN.

IT'S ONE OF THEOBJECTIVES OF BEING ABLE TO

UPLOAD A MEMORY.

>> Jon: INCREDIBLE.

THE IDEA WOULD BE WHILE ONE SIDEOF THE INDUSTRY FOCUSES ON MAYBE

FIXING THE PATHWAYS BIOLOGICALLYTHERE'S A WHOLE OTHER SCIENCE

THAT IS WORKING AT THIS THROUGHDATA?

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO DECIPHERTHE THINKING BRAIN AND PERHAPS

CONNECT THE BRAIN TO A ROBOT ORA MACHINE.

THINK OF STEPHEN HAWKING MYCOLLEAGUE.

HE IS TOTALLY PARALYZED.

HE HAS A CHIP IN HIS RIGHTFRAME.

NEXT TIME YOU SEE HIM ON TV LOOKAT HIS GLASSES. THERE'S A CHIPTHERE THAT PICKS

UP RADIO WAVES FROM HIS MIND,TRANSFERS IT TO A LAPTOP AND HE

CAN MENTALLY TYPE.

>> Jon: THIS IS SOMETHINGPRESENT NOW.

>> NOW.

>> Jon: AND HOW DOES HIS --HOW DOES THE CHIP IN HIS GLASSES

PICK UP A RADIO WAVE THAT HEGENERATES FROM HIS BRAIN?

>> BECAUSE IT'S VERY CLOSE TOTHE BRAIN.

FOR OTHERPATIENTS WE PUT IT DIRECTLY ON

THE BRAIN ITSELF.

A CHIP ABOUT THE SIZE OF A DIMECONNECTING THE CHIP TO A LAPTOP

AND THEN THE PERSON CAN OPERATEA WHEELCHAIR, OPERATE HOUSEHOLD

APPLIANCES, SURF THE WEB,ANSWER E-MAILS EVEN IF HE IS

TOTALLY PARALYZED.

>> Jon: IT'S INCREDIBLE.

IS HIS CHIP NOT IN HIS BRAINBECAUSE HIS BRAIN IS SO STRONG?

[LAUGHTER]IF YOU PUT THE CHIP ON HIS BRAIN

THE CHIP WOULD BE LIKE STOPYELLING, I CAN HEAR YOU, YOU ARE

SO BRAINY.

[LAUGHTER]BUT IN TERMS OF AMOUNTS OF DATA,

I WOULD IMAGINE LIKE WE'REACCUSTOMED TO THIS IDEA, OHWE'VE MAPPED

THE HUMAN GENOME. WHAT IS THEAMOUNT OF DATA THAT THE HUMANGENOME ENCOMPASSES?

>> IT'S PEANUTS COMPARED TO THECOMPLEXITY OF THE BRAIN.

WHAT SITS ON YOUR SHOULDER ISTHE MOST COMPLEX OBJECT IN THE

KNOWN UNIVERSE.

>> Jon: IN TERMS OF COMPUTINGPOWER WE HAVE NOW IN TERMS OF

TRYING TO DISSEMINATE THEAMOUNT OF ACTIVITY AND DATA

FLOWING THROUGH THE BRAIN, WHEREWOULD WE NEED TO GET TO BEFORE

IT'S A FEASIBLE TRANSACTION?

>> WE WOULD HAVE TO BUILD ACOMPUTER THE SIZE OF A CITY

BLOCK COOLED BY A RIVER.

ENERGIZED BY A NUCLEAR POWERPLANT TO MIMIC THECOMPUTATIONAL POWER OF YOUR

BRAIN WHICH DOES IT FOR 20WATTS.

WHEN SOMEONE CALLS YOU A DIMBULB IT'S A COMPLIMENT.

>> Jon: IT IS A COMPLIMENT.

20 WATTS OF POWER TO POWER THEBRAIN.

SO WHY IS THAT?

WHAT IS THE ENERGY SOURCE OF THEBRAIN THAT WE'RE UNABLE TO

FIGURE OUT.

>> FOR MOST PEOPLE IT'S JUST AFEW HAMBURGERS.

HOWEVER, WE DON'T KNOW HOW THEBRAIN ACTUALLY FUNCTIONS.

THE BRAIN IS NOT A COMPUTER INTHE NORMAL SENSE OF THE WORD.

THERE'S NO OPERATING SYSTEM.

THERE'S NO PENTIUM CHIP, THERE'SNO WINDOWS.

IT'S A LEARNING MACHINE.

IT LEARNS.

>> Jon: CAN IT EXIST OUTSIDE OFUS?

>> WELL, IF PRESIDENT OBAMA'SBRAIN INITIATIVE SUCCEEDS, WEWILL HAVE A CD ROM

>> Jon: WHAT?

HE HAS A BRAIN INITIATIVE?

HE CAN'T RUN A WEB SITE?

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

A BRAIN INITIATIVE?

>> THEY WANT TO DUMP $1 BILLIONTO MAP ALL THE PATHWAYS OF THEHUMAN

BRAIN TO SOLVE THE QUESTION OFMENTAL ILLNESS LIKE

SCHIZOPHRENIA, BIPOLAR DISORDERAND ONE DAY THEY MAY HAVE A CD

ROM WITH ALL YOURPERSONALITY, ALL YOURNEURONS ON IT, THAT WILL LIVE ONAFTER YOU DIE.

IN OTHER WORDS SOME FORM OFIMMORTALITY IS A POSSIBILITYTHAT

CONSCIOUSNESS MAY EXIST EVENOUTSIDE THE HUMAN BODY.

IT WOULD BE NICE, RIGHT, LIVINGFOREVER?

[LAUGHTER]>> Jon: SORRY I'M THINKING OF

LIKE 300 YEARS FROM NOW, YOUKNOW, PEOPLE THAT -- YOUR KIDS

AND KIDS AND KIDS TAKING YOU OUTOF A CD JACKET.

LET'S HANG WITH GRANDPA FOR ALITTLE BIT.

>> AND YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BEABLE TO HAVE A CHAT WITH YOU.

PERSONALITY TRAITS, MANNERISMSWILL BE THERE.

>> ALL CONSCIOUSNESS IS ARETHESE DATA POINTS?

>> IN SOME SENSE IN THIS LINEOF APPROACH YOUR PERSONALITYYOUR QUOTE SOUL

WOULD BE REDUCED TO DIGITALINFORMATION THAT IN SOME SENSE

YOUR GREAT, GREAT, GREAT GRANDKIDS COULD ACCESS TO HAVE ANEVENING CONVERSATION WITH YOU?

>> Jon: DON'T YOU THINKTHERE'S SPECIAL SAUCE WE DON'T

KNOW ABOUT THAT IS MORE THANJUST THE FUNCTIONS?

>> YEAH, THERE'S ALWAYS THE WILDCARDS.

>> Jon: YEAH.

>> LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.

IF YOU ARE HIT IN THE LEFT PARTOF THE BRAIN.

>> Jon: NOW YOU ARE JUSTGETTING WEIRD.

[ LAUGHTER ]>> CERTAIN PEOPLE DEVELOP

ENORMOUS MATHEMATICAL POWERS.

THEY BECOME SUPER GENIUSES.

THIS IS NOT THE AVERAGE BLOW TOTHE BRAIN.

DON'T GO HOME AND SOCK YOURSELFIN THE BRAIN TONIGHT HOPING TO

BECOME A SUPERGENIUS.

>> Jon: THAT IS SMART.

>> IT'S HAPPENED BEFORE.

WE THINK IT'S BECAUSE THE BRAINHAS LOST ITS ABILITY TO FORGET.

A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY IS NOTBECAUSE MEMORIES DIE DOWN WITH

TIME.

WE FORGET HOW TO FORGET.

THE FORGETTING MECHANISM ISDISABLED IN THESE INDIVIDUALS SO

IT'S LIKE A TAPE RECORDER THATKEEPS ON TAPING AND NEVER

ERASING.

>> Jon: DOES IT RUN OUT OFMEMORY AT THAT POINT OR WILL IT

CONTINUE TO GO?

>> IT CONTINUES TO GO.

THESE PEOPLE CAN REMEMBER A DAY30 YEARS AGO ON A TUESDAY ON AN

AFTERNOON AT 2:00 IN THEAFTERNOON THEY CAN TELL YOU WHAT

BOOK THEY WERE READING ON WHATPAGE.

>> Jon: WHY WOULD OUR BRAINSNOT DO THAT ALL THE TIME?

WHY NOT BUY THE BRAIN WITH THEMOST MEMORY?

>> BECAUSE EVENTUALLY IT TRIPSYOU UP.

YOU GET MEMORY OVERFLOW.

YOU GET PARALYZED WITH SO MANYMEMORIES COMING AT YOU.

MANY OF THESE INDIVIDUALS, FOREXAMPLE HAVE A

HARD TIME KEEPING AN ORDINARYJOB BECAUSE THEY REMEMBER TOO

MUCH.

WE FORGET FOR A REASON BELIEVEIT OR NOT BECAUSE IT'S GOOD FOR

SURVIVAL AND EVOLUTION TOFORGET.

>> Jon: THAT'S WHAT BOOZE IS,YEAH.

[LAUGHTER]THIS STUFF IS INCREDIBLE.

WE'RE ON THE CUSP OF REALLY,TRULY AMAZING THINGS, ARE WE

NOT?

>> THIS IS THE GOLDEN AGE OFBRAIN RESEARCH.

>> Jon: I'M EXCITED ABOUTTHIS.

THE FUTURE OF THE MIND.

IT'S ON THE BOOKSHELVES NOW.

VERY, VERY FASCINATING.

MICHIO KAKU.

THANK YOU.

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