The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind

When I saw this title, I knew immediately that I had to read it.  Now that I have read it, I am certainly not disappointed.  This is one of the most interesting books I have read, and I have read many interesting books.  This book was written by Dr. Michio Kaku, a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York.  Dr. Kaku has a brilliant mind and has written a brilliant book.

In the lingo of the healthy memory blog, this book deals with transactive memory, how technology and other humans can enhance our minds.  I shall be basing some future posts on chapters from this book, but there is no way I can even begin to give it justice.  So I strongly recommend you reading the entire book on your own.  The book is divided into three books.  Book I is titled “The Mind and Consciousness,”  Book II, “Mind Over Matter,”  and Book  III  “Altered Consciousness.”

Consciousness is presented from a physicist’s viewpoint.  Even though I am a psychologist, I find much to like in this physicist’s viewpoint.  There definitely will be a future post on his viewpoint of consciousness.

Chapters in Book II are titled “Telepathy,”, “Telekinesis:  Mind Controlling Matter,” “Memories and Thoughts Made to Order,” and “Einstein’s Brain and Enhancing Our Intelligence.”  Do not be put off by some of these chapter titles.  They are not dealing with the supernatural.  Rather they are dealing with technology that achieves these ends.  Everything Dr. Kaku writes is based on and bounded by physics.

Chapter titles in Book III include “In Your Dreams,” “Can the Mind Be Controlled,” “Altered States of Consciousness,” “The Artificial Mind and Silicon Consciousness,” “Reverse Engineering the Brain,”  “ The Future:  Mind Beyond Matter,”  “The Mind is Pure Energy,” and “The Alien Mind.”  I’ve long been perplexed as to how Kurzweil plans to upload his mind to silicon to achieve the Singularity.  Dr. Kaku explains how this might be done, but it does not involve silicon.  Everything proposed in these chapters is based on sound theoretical physics.  As Dr. Kaku notes, the problems involve engineering, and the engineering tasks are quite formidable indeed.  I am especially appreciative of his ideas on the alien mind.  I’ve had my fill of unbelievable anthropomorphic aliens.

An appendix on Quantum Consciousness is also included.

My only complaint regards the failure of Dr. Kaku to note that there are corpses of individuals whose brains were filled with the tell tale amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer’s, yet who never exhibited any of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s when they lived.  So it appears that, at best, the amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles are a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for Alzheimer’s.

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