Much of what will happen in the next 30 years is inevitable, driven by technological trends which are already in motion. Some of what is coming may seem scary, like cheap artificial intelligence, ubiquitous tracking, or robots replacing humans. Other innovations seem more desirable, such as an on-demand economy, and virtual reality in the home. Kevin Kelly shows how these diverse disruptions in our lives in the near future can be understood as inevitable results of a few long-term trends. Today, rapidly increasing choices in technology create anxiety and cause people who aren't millennials to resent technology as they feel compelled to use it. This book shows how by understanding the larger inevitable trends, it's easier for us to arrange our day to day relationships with technology in way that brings forth maximum benefits. This book's smart embrace of the inevitable is the best way we can remain on top of the coming wave of changes.
What comes after the Internet? What is bigger than the web? What will produce more wealth than all the startups to date? The answer is a planetary super-organism comprised of 4 billion mobile phones, 80 quintillion transistor chips, a million miles of fiber optic cables, and 6 billion human minds all wired together. The whole thing acts like a single organism, with its own behavior and character – but at a scale we have little experience with. This is more than just a metaphor. In this presentation, Kevin takes the idea of a global super-organism seriously by describing what we know about it so far, how it is growing, where its boundaries are, and what it will mean for us as individuals and collectively. Both the smallest one-person enterprises today, and the largest mega-corporations on Earth, will have to learn to how this Technium operates, and how to exploit it.
Current Technologies of Disruption
Progress is uneven. We can count on most things getting better incrementally, but some inventions are disruptive, causing discontinuities in society and business. Think ink-jet printing, online auctions, digital cameras. During these disruptions, incumbents are overturned, and outsiders take center stage to become the main event. In many of the examples of past, the disruptive technologies were initially dismissed as marginal toys, too niche, unprofitable, or broken. And they were. But their revolutionary benefits made them worth investing in and improving. Kevin outlines 10 current technologies of disruption, now in their infancy, on their way to overturn entire industries.
The Quantitative Self
Cheap and smart technologies today permit you to track any metric about yourself: blood pressure, activity level, sleep quality, mood, nutrition, performance, productivity, or genetic profile. Since you are in control of your self-tracking you can perform self-experiments to optimize your health or productivity. Or you can add value to any measurement by sharing it with others who are also tracking similar factors. Personalized tracking enables science to provide you with personalized medicines and treatments. This rapidly accelerating technology is revolutionizing medicine, public health, business workplaces, recreation and self-identity. As one of the co-founders of the movement, Kevin provides early insight into this disruptive technology.
The Sharing Culture
We are living in a new culture. Books, photos, music, film, games, news, gossip, art and communication are converging onto one unified platform. While this convergence appears to be the web right now, our digital destiny is actually something bigger, more complex, more alien, and more powerful then just a better web. It is a highly socialized culture, exploring new models of cooperation and engagement. Items, people and system are highly connected; everything is shared. It is hugely urban. It is progressive. It is liquid, fast, pluralistic and plastic. It shifts the consensus of "truth." It changes how we know things. It is redefining what humans are for. It is changing economics, shifting value from scarcity to abundance. It spans countries and languages. It reaches anywhere the mobile phone reaches. This culture is being shaped by new technologies; Kevin presents a portrait of what this emerging access culture looks like.
The most important technologies that will shape your career tomorrow have not been invented yet. The key inventions that will shape our world in the next 50 years don't exist today. To fully master these upcoming technologies you must unlearn the habits of today's technologies. Therefore, the essential life skill you really need to master is not expertise of specific technologies (which will radically change or disappear), but a new kind of techno-literacy. Techno-literacy is a mastery of technology as a whole – how technology in general works, how the core remains unchanged over time, and how to be an eternal newbie, always re-learning. Every business and institution must be aware of these 20 rules, or techno-literacies, in order to enable their employees, students, or customers to survive in this accelerating world.