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The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

Jason Shen
Jason Shen
2 min read
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

Today, we’re taking a look at the book The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly. I really enjoyed this book and if you work in technology or even have a passing interest in how technology will shape our world in the near future, this is a great read. My copy is full of highlighted facts, stories, and ideas.


The Book in a Nutshell:

While it is very difficult to accurately predict how technology will evolve in specific terms [1], the nature of technologies like the web, mobile phones, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality point to certain directions and that their tendencies can give us a sense of what’s to come. There are a number of trends that we can expect the world to gravitate towards including having interactivity and cognition (AI) infused into everything, a move from ownership to access, continued growth in the duplication and remixing of all media and content.

About the Author:

Kevin Kelly was the founding executive editor of WIRED and currently holds the role of Senior Maverick. He’s the author of several books including What Technology Wants, Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities and New Rules for the New Economy.


Key Points / Takeaways

We will forever be tech newbies

Kelly argues that it is likely the most important technologies of our lifetimes have not yet been invented and so when they are, we will have to adapt to them and learn how to use them. Get ready to keep having to maintain new devices and manage software updates until the end of time, because everything is constantly getting improved. Rather than rage against this future, it’s better to just embrace the fact.

Artificial Intelligence will infuse everything

“The AI on the horizon looks more like Amazon web services – cheap, reliable, industrial-grade digital smartness running behind everything …You’ll simply plug into the grid and get AI as if it was electricity …There is almost nothing we can think of that cannot be made new, different, or more valuable by infusing it with some extra IQ. In fact, the business plans of the next 10,000 startups are easy to forecast: Take X and add AI“The Inevitable (Chapter 2: Cognifying)

Robots will augment our lives and work

Jobs humans can do but robots can do even better
Jobs humans can’t do but robots can
Jobs we didn’t know we wanted done
Jobs only humans can do – at first
Today the world’s best chess players are “centaurs”, meaning there are a combination of AI and chess players.

Remixing is a sign of culture

“Sure, the version of Harry Potter that J. K. Rowling published in 1997 will always be available, but it will be inevitable that another thousand fanfiction versions of her book will be penned by avid amateurs in the coming decades. The more powerful the invention or creation, the more likely and more important that it will be transformed by others. In 30 years the most important cultural works and the most powerful mediums will be those that have been remixed the most.”The Inevitable (Chapter 8: Remixing)

The internet is a giant copy machine
We are interacting with smaller things;
More improbable things will continue to happen.

Footnotes:
[1] In going back through his own records at WIRED, Kelly saw that pretty much no one foresaw the immense amount of user generated content on the Internet

ArticlesBook Notes

Jason Shen

Human(e) technologist on a mission to help build resilient teams and organizations. Former NCAA gymnast and three-time startup founder.