A reading club with a view to the future

109 Kevin Kelly: The Inevitable

The future is shaped by 12 technological forces, each with their own inevitable trajectory, which we must embrace to thrive.

Kevin Kelly: The Inevitable


In "The Inevitable," Kevin Kelly explores the 12 technological forces that will shape our future, and argues that rather than resisting these forces, we should embrace them in order to thrive. He describes how these forces - which include artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the "cognifying" of everything - are already shaping our world, and predicts how they will continue to evolve and transform every aspect of our lives.


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

Author: Kevin Kelly

Publishing Year: 2016

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Length in hours: 11 hours and 30 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. The 12 technological forces driving our future include: becoming, cognifying, flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, interacting, tracking, questioning, and beginning.
  2. These forces are not only inevitable, but also interdependent and reinforcing, leading to a future that is both surprising and yet unsurprising.
  3. The rise of artificial intelligence and automation will lead to major disruptions in the job market, but also create new opportunities for human creativity and innovation.
  4. Virtual reality and augmented reality will transform not just entertainment, but also education, health care, and communication.
  5. To thrive in this future, we must embrace these technological forces, and focus on developing the uniquely human qualities of creativity, empathy, and adaptability.
Kevin Kelly: The Inevitable

5 funny quotes

  1. "In a world of infinite abundance, only creativity could ever be in short supply."
  2. "Hacking biology is easier than biology itself."
  3. "In a world of smart objects, the dumbest thing will be our clothes."
  4. "No one knows how to build a clock that ticks with the rhythm of attention spans."
  5. "I used to say that the job of the future was Chief Creativity Officer, but that's so early-twenty-first century. Now it's just 'everyone's job'."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The business plans of the next 10,000 startups are easy to forecast: Take X and add AI."
  2. "In the future, the only way for you to remain indispensable is to out-innovate the robots."
  3. "We are co-creating an all-seeing, all-knowing, always-on world. This changes everything."
  4. "The internet is the largest copy machine ever invented, and it's not done copying yet."
  5. "The greatest product of the internet is the web of connections it weaves among human beings."

5 dilemmas

  1. How much privacy are we willing to sacrifice for convenience and personalization?
  2. How can we ensure that artificial intelligence is aligned with human values and interests?
  3. Should we embrace or resist the trend toward ever-increasing automation and machine intelligence?
  4. How can we balance the benefits of connectivity and information-sharing with the risks of hacking and cybercrime?
  5. How can we ensure that the benefits of technology are distributed equitably across society, rather than exacerbating existing inequalities?

5 examples

  1. Netflix - Predictive Analytics
  2. Waze - Crowdsourcing
  3. Amazon - Artificial Intelligence
  4. Kickstarter - Crowdfunding
  5. Minecraft - Synthetic Worlds

Referenced books

  1. "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains" by Nicholas Carr
  2. "The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More" by Chris Anderson
  3. "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari
  4. "The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies" by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
  5. "The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology" by Ray Kurzweil

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"In the future, the only way for you to remain indispensable is to out-innovate the robots."

Kevin Kelly: The Inevitable
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