A New York Times Bestseller
From one of our leading technology thinkers and writers, a guide through the twelve technological imperatives that will shape the next thirty years and transform our lives
Much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion. In this fascinating, provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives—from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture—can be understood as the result of a few long-term, accelerating forces. Kelly both describes these deep trends—interacting, cognifying, flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking, and questioning—and demonstrates how they overlap and are codependent on one another. These larger forces will completely revolutionize the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other. By understanding and embracing them, says Kelly, it will be easier for us to remain on top of the coming wave of changes and to arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that bring forth maximum benefits. Kelly’s bright, hopeful book will be indispensable to anyone who seeks guidance on where their business, industry, or life is heading—what to invent, where to work, in what to invest, how to better reach customers, and what to begin to put into place—as this new world emerges.
Kelly (What Technology Wants), a cofounder and former editor of Wired magazine, reflects on the revolutionary digital and technological changes currently underway and seeks to define 12 of the forces driving these changes. He writes that these forces are active trends that make certain outcomes inevitable: "There is a bias in the nature of technology that tilts it in certain directions and not others." Throughout the book, Kelly catalogs the many new developments of the last couple decades, from the Internet itself to the explosion of cloud computing and digital services such as Facebook and Uber. Each chapter addresses one of the 12 forces and ends with a vision of what our daily lives might look like if the given trend persists 30 years from now; for example, he predicts the personalization of nearly everything including healthcare and advertisements based on comprehensively collected, maintained, and shared data profiles. These imaginative speculations reflect an optimistic and arguably idealistic view, and the book as a whole exudes faith in the power of technology to better the world. Kelly notes that bad actors are just as inevitable as the technological changes themselves, but he chooses to elide discussions of the specific downsides that likely will accompany the changes he describes. Kelly's stated goal is "to uncover the roots of digital change so that we can embrace them." The book effectively identifies these roots, but in omitting critical discussion of them, it leaves the reader inadequately equipped to thoughtfully embrace or engage with them.