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What I'm Reading: The Inevitable
 
In 'The Inevitable’, Kevin Kelly tries to predict how technology will evolve by defining and explaining 12 technological trends that will shape future advances.

By Barry Hynes

Technological progress over the next 30 years will completely transform the way we work, play, learn, buy and communicate. In ‘The Inevitable’, Kevin Kelly tries to predict how technology will evolve by defining and explaining 12 technological trends, or ‘forces’, that will shape future advances: Becoming, Cognifying, Flowing, Screening, Accessing, Sharing, Filtering, Remixing, Interacting, Tracking, Questioning and Beginning.

Even within this framework this is not an easy task to do, and the author does acknowledge that imagining the future, even 30 years from now, is almost impossible. After all, it is difficult to perceive the potential for changes happening even now, as we tend to see things from within the framework of the old, and very often we don’t see where technological progress is heading because it’s not what we want to happen.

A case in point is the internet and how, as late as the mid-nineties, large corporations and telecommunications companies still did not foresee or appreciate the major commercial opportunities that it could offer or provide, and the disruptive affect that it would have on their core businesses. Indeed, commercialisation of the internet was initially forbidden as part of its terms of use.

There is, obviously, a heavy focus on the internet, and the increased connectivity of the world in this book, and what impact this will have on our lives. For example, touching on how this is, even now, enabling large advances in the field of artificial intelligence.

While some of these ‘forces’ are slightly abstract, and not all equally important, the author, Kevin Kelly, does make a convincing case as to how these will drive progress, either in isolation, or, much more likely, through combinations of two or more of these forces. As one of the founders of Wired magazine, Kelly is in a unique place to determine what the world might look like in 30 years’ time. He makes plausible conjectures as to what direction technological advances will take, arguing that, inevitably, we will be living in a world of greater connectivity, where every aspect of your daily life is tracked, and where most people will be working in jobs that do not yet exist and that most of us have not even conceived of.


Barry Hynes is Solutions Architect at Airspeed Telecom. Connect with him on Linkedin
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