Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

I borrowed this book because it seems like it'd be related to the Black Zemi. It is, but this is something that I should have read before I entered - it is that introductory.

The Inevitable is basically about the 12 forces that will change society forever. According to the author, they are:

1. Becoming (we're gonna require constant upgrades)

2. Cognifying (Artificial Intelligence)

3. Flowing (Things are going to be readily available, and in small bits)

4. Screening (like it says - everything on a screen)

5. Accessing (people are gonna stream stuff, not buy it)

6. Sharing (What is mine is yours and all that. It's about who owns information)

7. Filtering (welcome the algorithms)

8. Remixing (fan made PVs, Fanfiction is gonna be the future)

9. Interacting (Virtual Reality is the future)

10. Tracking (every single thing about you will be recorded and stored)

11. Questioning (We will find more and more new questions)

12. Beginning (The Future is Now)

And then there are like 50 pages of notes, which showed me the book was surprisingly well-researched. I say surprisingly because most of it seemed to be from the author's personal experience, or his personal vision of the future. Personally, I was hoping for something more in-depth.

I was also a little disappointed that he didn't cover some topics - in Filtering, for example, he didn't mention the disintermediated industries, and how that poses a challenge for filtering.

There was also a too-rosy picture of everything. I like most of the technologies here (and have defended some of them to more skeptical teachers and classmates), but even I was like "whoa there" in a number of chapters.

There were so many missed opportunities - for example, though he mentioned that people tend to overshare when given the choice, the issue of networked privacy didn't come out. That could have been a valuable discussion in how people's views and expectations of privacy changes with advancements in technology. And all the legal challenges that will come were largely left out. Not to mention challenges in defining the open standards necessary.

So even though there was some mention of potential problems, it wasn't a balanced coverage by any means.

While the book isn't bad (it's probably aimed towards the complete newbie), I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. For forces that will change the world, I much prefer The Shift by Lynda Gratton. And of course, the 'counter argument' to this will be Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

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