Privacy program boom coming, once we are done with social media: Dr Michio Kaku

When the middle-class starts suffering from high levels of identity theft, there will be a privacy programming boom, but don't expect it to happen while everyone wants to be the next Zuckerberg, says Dr Michio Kaku

In describing the future of omnipresent computing where augmented reality is an ever-present convenience - and where the population expects to have information on products, ideas, and other people appear just by looking at them - theoretical physicist Dr Michio Kaku says that privacy will be a problem.

"People will demand to live in a world where they know everything about a product, and the producer will demand to know everything about the consumer [thanks to big data]," said Kaku. "And this is just how we are going to live."

Despite being able to have biographies appear about other people involved in meetings, Kaku believes that corporations and governments will turn to quantum cryptography to ensure that their communications are secure.

"Banks, governments, the intelligence agencies, all of them will gradually leave the internet in general, and create an intranet between themselves, so they will know that nobody but nobody is listening in," he said.

"You will have your message on a laser beam that cannot be broken by any methods known to physics. Any tampering with the laser beam will alter the polarisation vector of the laser, and instantly, by the laws of quantum theory, you know that someone is listening in on your conversations"

Kaku said that fears of snooping by intelligence agencies, such as the NSA's taping of German Chancellor Merkel's phone, will provide an impetus for corporations to invest in a parallel internet using quantum cryptography.

For the average user, though, the future will deliver a plethora of programs to protect privacy, just not in the immediate future.

"Right now there are very few -- pitifully few computer programs to protect you," said Kaku. "And the reason is the great geniuses of Silicon Valley want to become the next Zuckerberg by creating social media."

"They're investing all their intellectual energy on social media, they're not working on privacy because you can't make money off of it, but eventually they'll turn to privacy. They'll realise that there is a huge market -- middle-class people are going to be ripped off in the future with identity theft -- and there is going to be a lot more effort.

"But right now, there is very little effort in that direction because if you are a young kid, you want to become a billionaire, and I can't blame them."

But eventually software programmers will start to write programs to protect privacy, so that certain things are shielded from the general public.

Dr Michio Kaku is a best-selling author and co-creator of string field theory, a branch of string theory that he says gives him insight into how capitialism works.

"Professionally, I work in string theory, but I realise that quantum mechanics is the basis of modern capitialism," he said.

"I understand the rate at which progress is taking place, and I understand the limits of this technology, because all of it is determined by quantum physics."

Dr Kaku will be delivering a series of Think Inc public lectures along the east coast of Australia in early June.

By Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan. During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic adven...