HOW PHYSICS WILL CHANGE THE WORLD IN 100 YEARS
... according to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek. Check out the full story here: http://to.pbs.org/1GX6c0L
- •Supersymmetric particles will be observed... because unification theories say so.When a force particle (or boson) jumps into what’s called “superspace,” it becomes a substance particle (or fermion). Conversely, when a substance particle jumps into superspace, it becomes a force particle. When physicists looks at the strengths of the electromagnetic, gravitational, weak, and strong forces, they see that at high energies (and short distances), the forces get threaded into a single, unified force—but only if these super-particles are factored into the equation.
- •We will start interpreting laws of physics as statements about information."I think it is fair to say that there has already been a unification fusing the physical quantity entropy and the conceptual quantity information," writes Wilczek. "I suspect that the connection goes very deep, and that over the next century, the dynamical laws of physics will be re-interpreted as statements about information and its transformations."
- •Physics will begin revealing the richness of matter's behavior—including how our own brains work.In 100 years, biological memory, cognitive processing, motivation, and emotion will be understood at the molecular level," Wilczek writes. "And if physics evolves to describe matter in terms of information, as we discussed earlier, a circle of ideas will have closed. Mind will have become more matter-like, and matter will have become more mind-like."
- •As we learn more about matter, materials scientists will be able to create smaller and smaller technologies."Calculation will increasingly replace experimentation in the design of useful materials, catalysts, and drugs, empowering greater efficiency and new opportunities for creativity," Wilczek writes. "Physicists will learn to manipulate atomic nuclei dexterously, as they now manipulate atoms. This will enable, for example, ultra-dense energy storage and ultra-high energy lasers."
- •We'll build our own Dyson sphere."The capture and use of a substantial part of solar energy impinging on Earth may be a necessity for human civilization as we wean ourselves from carbon fuels," Wilczek writes. "Fortunately, it seems eminently feasible that, within 100 years, we will channel a substantial fraction of the sun’s ambient energy to our own purposes."
- •We'll be able to expand human perceptual abilities."Modern microelectronics offers attractive possibilities for accessing this information," writes Wilczek. "By appropriate transformations, we can encode it in our existing channels in a sort of induced synesthesia. We will vastly expand the human sensorium, opening the doors of perception."
- •We could see the emergence of the quantum mind."Artificial intelligence offers new possibilities for the life of mind. An entity capable of recording its state could purposefully enter loops to relive especially enjoyable episodes, for example," Wilczek writes. "A quantum mind could experience the superposition of 'mutually contradictory' states or allow different parts of its wave function to explore vastly different scenarios in parallel. Such a mind could revisit the past at will and could be equipped to superpose past and present."