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VISIONARYIssue 8 | 2011 www.exhibition-world.nethen you look back at forecasts of the way businesses were supposed to be operating today, you'll fi nd many widely-accepted predictions that simply never came to be. The paperless offi ce. The people-less city - a world of people sitting alone in living rooms, connected to each other by a screen. But what about the future for exhibitions? Does emerging technology, improved connectivity and access to information lessen the need for getting out to trade events? Dr Michio Kaku, author of New York Times bestsellers Physics of the Future and Sci-Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible, (the latter a 12-part series on the Science channel in the US), says basic human instinct is the reason exhibitions aren't going to disappear anytime soon."These predictions never came true because we're social animals," he tells EW. "We like to bond with other people. You want to see who or what is up and coming - you want to see who's lying to you. You can't do that on a computer screen."Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the University of New York, is an advocate of not-so-far-from-now technologies such as the contact lens through which we can access the Internet, or interactive digital 'wallpaper' that will replace desktop PCs.But can this technology, this scope of access, ever diminish the need for live events? "The world is headed towards something called perfect capitalism," he explains. "There is so much knowledge out there. When you go to an exhibition, or a supermarket, you already know exactly what something really costs. Today, supply and demand are imperfect. In the future, it will be perfect: you will know exactly what things really cost, how much profi t the manufacturer is getting and who offers the cheapest product. That's what we're headed for, a fl ood of knowledge and perfect capitalism."But despite this fl ood of information and the fact we needn't leave our rooms to know about every product, Kaku says organisers needn't panic. Technology, he argues, can do little to diminish human instinct. "Some people think exhibitions will disappear. That we'll all teleconference instead, so there's no necessity to go to any trade show. Well that's wrong. Because we are human beings. Our personality hasn't changed in a hundred thousand years. In fact, if you could meet somebody from that long ago who was able to speak your language, they'd immediately understand your desires and wants. You see, we haven't changed at all."We want to have meetings because we want to size people up. You want to see who interacts, who is the creative engine. You want to know who comes up with good ideas rather than goofy ideas."This is the paradox," he continues. "We will have more information than ever before. But when we look at a press release, our fi rst reaction is scepticism. Because you know a lot of it is written by a professional copy editor who gets paid to hype up inferior products. You want to see it, touch it, kick it, test drive it. You want to have direct contact with people and products."That is why we will always have exhibitions, Kaku concludes. "We want bonding. We want the inside story, the gossip, the scuttlebutt, the scandal. All the stuff you're not going to get in press releases."Dr Kaku is the keynote speaker at this year's Expo! Expo! in Las Vegas. PERFECT CAPITALISM ANTONY REEVE-CROOK CAUGHT UP WITH THEORETICAL PHYSICIST AND CO-FOUNDER OF STRING FIELD THEORY, DR MICHIO KAKU, AND ASKED HIM WHERE EXHIBITIONS SIT IN THE WORLD OF THE FUTURE