Kevin Kelly was one of the cofounder’s of Wired and is one of the godfathers of the internet. Over his long and illustrious career, Kevin has proven himself to not only have been an indispensable part of starting the information revolution but has become something of a prognosticator, generously pulling back the current so that we can see where technology may be leading us.
Subtitled as Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, The Inevitable is a chapter by chapter walkthrough of these forces that will produce the technological landscape that our children may very well inherit. The chapters are titled with present participles (Sharing, Flowing, Screening, etc.) that demonstrate the core of Kevin’s message: our society in the midst of several significant, fundamental changes that will not only alter our society but kept it in a state of perpetual change.
Right off the bat, I love how Kevin has a long view of history. Rather than viewing things like paper books as vestigial relics fit for the flames of obsolescence, he acknowledges how these items were once technological advances that have lead us to this point, rather than holding us back from the precipice of the future. My favorite part of the book, however, are the occasional vignettes in which Kevin will move from philosophical predictions to a speculative narrative about how a particular technological force may work itself out in our every day life, thirty years in the future. These episodes are very helpful for me, making it much easier to picture an incredibly advanced future, beyond my own imagination, that actually seems plausible.
Informative, imaginative, engaging—what more do you want in a book?
Seriously? How high are your expectations?
Sigh. This is complicated. Skip to the next section.
Sorry about that. I’m struggling about how to say this.
I want to be clear that I have nothing bad to say about Kevin or the book. I do, however, slightly disagree with Kevin’s attitude to technology. He’s very optimistic, even ecstatic at the prospects that tomorrow’s technology holds, which makes the book interesting and fun to read.
The issue is that I’m not so at ease about all of this.
You see, I sometimes think that the future sounds scary. To paraphrase a recent guest speaker at my church, I’m not worried about what technology has done, but about what it might do eventually. While Kevin does caution that we will always need boundaries and rules that govern how we use technology, I’m becoming increasingly worried about how technology will use/change us.
I guess this is really more about me than this book, but I felt like it needed to be said.
– Readability (5.0)
– Breadth/Depth of Content (5.0)
– Helpfulness/Inspirational (5.0)
Recommended? – Yes, if you use technology and want to be at the forefront of where it’s headed.
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future is by Kevin Kelly.
You can buy it from Amazon.
If you’d like a very condensed version of Kevin’s ideas, you can watch this talk he gave at SXSW 2016.
A copy of this book was provided to by the publishers in exchanged for an honest review, which is what you just read.