The Inevitable

The Inevitable

Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

Viking, 2016 more...

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Scientific
  • Eye Opening


Developing technologies are bending toward certain “trajectories” that seem likely to take the world to uncharted realms in the decades ahead. Though they don’t yield to detailed forecasting, these accelerating forces are carving out interconnected channels of societal change. Technology guru Kevin Kelly describes 12 of the most potent irresistible forces, conveying his message with insight based on immersion in cyberculture. People “screen” instead of reading. They “flow,” “access” and “share” instead of buying and owning. While accepting some of the negatives, he finds optimism and opportunity at this unparalleled “beginning” of the human-machine civilization. getAbstract recommends his provocative report to innovators, technologists, investors, entrepreneurs, futurists, VCs and progressive “hackers” of culture, business and life.


The Dozen Major “Forces”

Twelve “inevitable” technological developments will reshape society between the present and about 2050. These currents will disrupt old norms, laws, perceptions, interactions and national interests. A dozen strong forces – expressed as 12 restless  “verbs” of change – accelerate each other in a ceaseless, expanding cycle of “trajectories.” Now that society’s illusions of “fixity” and control are obsolete, humans should exercise engaged vigilance over these developments. That will be of more service than clinging to orthodoxy. These pivotal technocultural advances are:

1. “Becoming”

The point where technology and culture merge – called the “technium” – keeps evolving. Unlike a static utopia, or a moribund dystopia, this burgeoning “protopia” drives people to innovate and grow. The technium’s unquenchable birthing or becoming knows no bounds, despite the difficulties and challenges it poses. “One aspect of the ceaseless upgrades and eternal becoming of the technium is to make holes in our heart.”

2. “Cognifying”

Affordable, ubiquitous artificial intelligence (AI) will disrupt every area of human life. Interlinked cognified...

About the Author

Cyberculture writer and editor Kevin Kelly worked with Stewart Brand on the Whole Earth Catalog, The Whole Earth Review and Signal. In 1992, Kelly became executive editor of Wired magazine, where he is now “senior maverick.” He also wrote New Rules for the New Economy and What Technology Wants.

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