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Space Flight at 50: The Journey Continues

Interview With Michio Kaku, Author of 'Physics of the Future'

How science is shaping our destiny

Q. Good-bye loneliness.

A. Once the Internet is in our contact lens or glasses, we'll be able to make contact with old friends and new — hobbyists who share our interests.

Q. And no language barriers in the future?

A. Already Google has been able to take a human voice in English and translate it into Chinese and other languages. This means that your contact lens will identify whom you're talking to, print out their biography as you're talking, and display what they're saying in English. So when you are a tourist you will be able to bargain with anyone, in any language. You'll be able to speak at any international conference. Some people say that's centuries away, but no, we're talking about a decade from now.

Q. I'm very interested in the driverless car. Tell us about it.

A. Google is spending millions to perfect it. Their target is eight years from now. The car is actually safer than a human, believe it or not. Humans make mistakes, get distracted, fall asleep, get drunk. We want the car to be perfect, which will take time, but it's already safer than a human driver.

Q. Will driver's licenses disappear?

A. In the future, you'll just talk to your car and tell it where to go. It will figure out the best paths, download traffic jams on the Internet, and just take you where you want to go. Restrictions on mobility will be removed as cars become driverless. We'll be chauffeured, basically.

Betsy Towner lives in California.

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