After the SAT exam, I finally had time to finish my reading while not forgetting Edexcel of course. This time it was Physics of the Future by Professor Michio Kaku of the City University of New York.
Well this book is not as physics as it seems ,its like more to “Humanity in the Future with science” with a bent to nanotech, biotech, and space travel among others. The next big thing hinted in the book is the field of nanotechnology. As things get smaller and more compact and cheaper, exciting new possibilities will be found out and nanotech will have applications that we have never dreamt before. Just like how people centuries ago did not, even in the wildest of dreams have guessed that the humble silicon (in sand) will one day be an important part of our lives.
The other thing worthy of mention will be space travel, which is analogous to how Columbus sailed to the New World. The closing of the space shuttle program serves to excite the field into a new era of sending man into space. Already some new technologies are in research phase, such as laser propulsion. The space elevator although extravagant also has a chance to be realised due to increasing research on the new magic material - graphene and carbon nanotubes.
So with all these exciting prospects underway what can Malaysia do to join in the fun? In my opinion the space travel thing is impossible in Malaysia, due to many factors such as terrain and weather (our thunderstorms are so frequent!). Therefore, one field that we should try to make progress is in nanotechnology.
Just like how Dr.Mahathir kicked start the industrialization phase in Malaysia, we must not look back as of now, instead take advantage of the microchips technology that now lies in Cyberjaya and such. Also as we progress labour costs are going to rise, it’s inevitable if we want to raise our standards of living, we could not be going on supplying cheap labour forever. That’s where knowledge and innovation comes in, which is what we have learnt in Sejarah - “k-ekonomi”.
Emphasis and funding should be channelled to research in science and technology until when we can find a niche, e.g. biotech, solar power generation. Then we’ll be the pioneers in the field, constantly coming out with the best machineries with the help of other scientists that are attracted to our offers of exciting research and good pay. Then other countries will have a hard time catching up!
But Kaku has also predicted a planetary civilization coming up soon, where all national borders no longer exist. Well, there’s still plenty of differences between us to be resolved before we can achieve that. There’s also a good chance that things will backfire and us annihilating ourselves before we can even dream of going back to the Moon.
It seems that everything that will make or break the homo sapiens race lies in the hands of our generation. Well, let’s see if our knowledge obtained over the centuries serves to make our lives better, or worse.