Kevin Kelly

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Kevin Kelly

Digital Visionary; Writer on Business and “Cool Tools”; Co-Founder and Senior Maverick, WIRED; Author NY Times best-seller of, “The Inevitable”

Biography

Kevin Kelly has been a participant of, and reporter on, the information technology revolution for more than 30 years. Based in his studio in Pacifica, California, he immerses himself in the long-term trends of technology, tools and cultural behavior. He writes about the ripple effects and social consequences surrounding the culture of technology. His NY Times best-selling book titled “The Inevitable” (Viking, June 2016) chronicles how our lives in the near future will be shaped by a few long-term technological trends that are inevitable. Kelly’s previous book, “What Technology Wants” (Viking, 2010), presents a refreshing view of technology as a nearly living force in the world that affects society in an overall positive way. His other recent works include the graphic novel  “The Silver Cord” (2015) and Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities“ (Cool Tools Lab, 2013), a large-format, highly curated guide to the best of technology, tools and resources for modern self-sufficient living, which has already been compared to “The Whole Earth Catalog” of a generation ago.

Kelly is currently Senior Maverick at WIRED magazine. He helped launch WIRED in 1993, and served as its executive editor until January 1999. During Kelly’s tenure as editor at WIRED, the magazine won two National Magazine Awards (the industry’s equivalent of two Oscars). He is also currently editor and publisher of the Cool Tools website, which gets 1 million visitors per month. From 1984-1990, Kelly was publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Review, a journal of unorthodox technical news. He co-founded the ongoing Hackers’ Conference and was involved with the launch of the WELL, a pioneering online service started in 1985. He authored the best-selling “New Rules for the New Economy” (Penguin Books, 1999) and the classic book on decentralized emergent systems, “Out of Control” (Basic Books, 1995), called “required reading for all executives” by Fortune. In addition, he writes for prominent publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Time, Harpers, Science, GQ, and Esquire. Earlier in life, Kelly was a photographer in remote parts of Asia (instead of going to college), publishing his photographs in national magazines and recently in the photo art bookAsia Grace” (Taschen, 2002).

Videos

Books & Research

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

(Viking, June 2016)

The Silver Cord

(Cool Tools Lab, February 2015)

Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities

(Cool Tools Lab, December 2013)

The Silver Cord

(Silver Cord Productions, May 2012)

What Technology Wants

(Viking Penguin, October 2010)

Asia Grace

(Taschen, September 2002)

New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World

(Penguin, October 1999)

Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World

(Perseus Books, April 1995)

Biography

Kevin Kelly has been a participant of, and reporter on, the information technology revolution for more than 30 years. Based in his studio in Pacifica, California, he immerses himself in the long-term trends of technology, tools and cultural behavior. He writes about the ripple effects and social consequences surrounding the culture of technology. His NY Times best-selling book titled “The Inevitable” (Viking, June 2016) chronicles how our lives in the near future will be shaped by a few long-term technological trends that are inevitable. Kelly’s previous book, “What Technology Wants” (Viking, 2010), presents a refreshing view of technology as a nearly living force in the world that affects society in an overall positive way. His other recent works include the graphic novel  “The Silver Cord” (2015) and Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities“ (Cool Tools Lab, 2013), a large-format, highly curated guide to the best of technology, tools and resources for modern self-sufficient living, which has already been compared to “The Whole Earth Catalog” of a generation ago.

Kelly is currently Senior Maverick at WIRED magazine. He helped launch WIRED in 1993, and served as its executive editor until January 1999. During Kelly’s tenure as editor at WIRED, the magazine won two National Magazine Awards (the industry’s equivalent of two Oscars). He is also currently editor and publisher of the Cool Tools website, which gets 1 million visitors per month. From 1984-1990, Kelly was publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Review, a journal of unorthodox technical news. He co-founded the ongoing Hackers’ Conference and was involved with the launch of the WELL, a pioneering online service started in 1985. He authored the best-selling “New Rules for the New Economy” (Penguin Books, 1999) and the classic book on decentralized emergent systems, “Out of Control” (Basic Books, 1995), called “required reading for all executives” by Fortune. In addition, he writes for prominent publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Time, Harpers, Science, GQ, and Esquire. Earlier in life, Kelly was a photographer in remote parts of Asia (instead of going to college), publishing his photographs in national magazines and recently in the photo art bookAsia Grace” (Taschen, 2002).

Speech Topics

Embrace the Inevitable & Steer the Future of Technology

Much of what will happen in the next 30 years is inevitable, driven by technological trends which are already in motion, says Kevin Kelly. The coming technology will indeed transform our work and our lives – but not for the worse. Kelly examines 12 big technological forces that will shape our future. In an expansive talk that looks out over the next 30 years, he both describes these deep trends – 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. 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. 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. By understanding the larger inevitable trends, it’s easier for us to arrange our day to day relationships with technology in a way that brings forth maximum benefits. Embracing the inevitable is the best way we can remain on top of the coming wave of changes.

The Technium

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 systems 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.

Essential Techno-Literacies

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.

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Recommendations

“Kevin’s on the road to Buddha-hood. He’s a deeply spiritual man. He has an intellectual curiosity that is infinite. His Socratic method of inquiry and development is wonderful. It used to annoy me. I used to think, This guy’s an editor. He’s a futurist – that’s fine – but I’ve got to do some business. Why is he bothering me with these questions? But the more time I spend with Kevin, the more I realize that the way his mind wanders across things keeps us all on the edge.”

–Jane Metcalfe, President and Co-founder of Wired Ventures and Board Member Emeritus of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

“Kevin Kelly is the clearest-eyed visionary we have about the intersection of culture and technology.”

–Seth Godin, Best-selling Author and Marketing Provocateur

Praise for Kevin’s Latest Book, “Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities”:

“What a knockout!  Book Of The Year!”

Matt Groenig, Creator of “The Simpsons”

 “When this fabulous, amazing, unputdownable book arrived at my studio I immediately spent two and a half hours in it, and then the next morning passed another three-hour stint of ‘Wow – look at this! I could do that!’ This book is more exciting – in both what it actually offers and what kind of life it suggests – than anything I’ve read for a very long time. It’s an outstanding achievement in every sense – content, design, and quality.

  Brian Eno, Musician, Artist 

“I love it. A worthy successor to the Whole Earth Catalog.”

– Walter Isaacson, Author of “Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography”

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A-Z Name

Kelly, Kevin

Intro Video

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Kevin Kelly | 12 Inevitable Tech Forces That Will Shape Our Future | SXSW Interactive 2016