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The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future Paperback – June 6, 2017
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“A quintessential work of technological futurism . . . what’s valuable about The Inevitable, from a business perspective, is less what it says about how to innovate, and more what it says about where to innovate.” – James Surowiecki, strategy + business, “Best Business Books 2017 – Innovation”
"Anyone can claim to be a prophet, a fortune teller, or a futurist, and plenty of people do. What makes Kevin Kelly different is that he's right. In this book, you're swept along by his clear prose and unassailable arguments until it finally hits you: The technological, cultural, and societal changes he’s foreseeing really are inevitable. It’s like having a crystal ball, only without the risk of shattering."
—David Pogue, Yahoo Tech
"This book offers profound insight into what happens (soon!) when intelligence flows as easily into objects as electricity."
—Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail
“How will the future be made? Kevin Kelly argues that the sequence of events ensuing from technical innovation has its own momentum . . . and that our best strategy is to understand and embrace it. Whether you find this prospect wonderful or terrifying, you will want to read this extremely thought-provoking book.”
—Brian Eno, musician and composer
"Kevin Kelly has been predicting our technological future with uncanny prescience for years. Now he's given us a glimpse of how the next three decades will unfold with The Inevitable, a book jam-packed with insight, ideas, and optimism."
—Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One
"As exhilarating as the most outlandish science fiction novel, but based on very real trends. Kevin Kelly is the perfect tour guide for this life-changing future."
—Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing
"Creating a fictional future is easy; Kevin Kelly makes a habit of doing the difficult by showing us where we're actually going. The Inevitable is an eye-opening roadmap for what lies ahead. Science fiction is on its way to becoming science fact."
—Hugh Howey, author of Wool
—Marc Andreessen, co-founder Andreessen Horowitz
About the Author
Kevin Kelly helped launch Wired magazine and was its executive editor for its first seven years. He has written for The New York Times, The Economist, Science, Time, and The Wall Street Journal among many other publications. His previous books include Out of Control, New Rules for the New Economy, Cool Tools, and What Technology Wants. Currently Senior Maverick at Wired, Kelly lives in Pacifica, California.
From the Hardcover edition.
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This is a book that whose ideas are meant to be slowly pondered on, not to be gobbled up quickly. As in his previous works there is an underlying sense that technology has a will of its own, it wants to go in a certain direction which we would do well to align with. What I found most illustrative were the scenarios at the end of each chapter where he shows what life in the future looks like after the technological force described in it has had enough time to play out, a positive take on what popular TV shows like Black Mirror paint in a very dark way.
The optimism that pervades the book requires the reader to take the long view, to look beyond the present state. At a time when we are bombarded with news stories about the disappearance of privacy, the surveillance state, cyberwarfare, and the automation of millions of jobs out of existence Kelly can come across as a hopeless Pollyanna, and when he claims that "propaganda is less effective in a world of screens, because while misinformation travels as fast as electrons corrections do too" calling this naive is too soft a word after a US election where fake news played a big role and traditional fact checking could not penetrate the social media bubbles we now live in. But like Kelly says when describing the Becoming force, technology is still evolving and just because we don't have a solution today to these problems doesn't mean that they will not eventually arise after these forces have run their course. With that confidence we can best appreciate what Kelly has to say.
Where the topic is life thirty years hence, it was amazing to me
how much change has already occurred. I'm almost 90, and won't
see that future, but it sure was fun to visualize it.
This is a very informative book about the great deal that has happened over the past three decades, as well as latest developments and trends in IT, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and the whole range of such new technologies. The reader is also taken on a trip to see what the author thinks is likely to follow in the next three decades. For those of us who may find it difficult to follow the developments that have surged ahead at lightning speed, this is a very useful book that helps us to start catching up.
The author is evidently a huge fan of the many possibilities that the use of IT has opened up. There is a lot of hype and hoopla in the account that he sets out. That is all good. However, noting his intimate knowledge of the subject, I am rather disappointed that he has not tried to look more into issues (personal, social, between generations, etc) that may arise, or have arisen, as we try to adjust to the dramatic changes that are taking place at such enormous speeds.
I was kind of taken aback, though, by the author's account of a night and following morning in the new world of highly connected technology. He's in bed with his wife reading an online book, while she's got her gadget going. They go to sleep, and in the morning he has breakfast and drives his kid to school, all while interfacing with others on various platforms. No lovemaking, no conversation with his child. Totally absorbed by personal electronics.
Fascinating to be so technologically connected, but I dread living in a world that's so emotionally and physically disconnected.