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The Inevitable

Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

By Kevin Kelly
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  • Contains 7 key ideas
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The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

The Inevitable (2016) is your guide to understanding the technology trends that are gaining momentum today and will undoubtedly shape the future. These blinks delve into the ideas and motivations that are driving technology and what it all means for the world of tomorrow.

Key idea 1 of 7

Technology is constantly improving and always in flux.

How would you like to live in a utopia – a perfect world in which you never suffer yet also never change?

If this prospect sounds boring, don’t worry – this isn’t what the future holds.

Instead, what we’re experiencing and will continue to experience is a protopia – a world that keeps getting better, one baby step at a time.

In a protopia, things are always a bit better today than yesterday. For instance, even if some inventions produce problems such as higher energy demands, the benefits always outweigh the costs.

But living in a protopia also means that nothing is fixed. Technology moves forward, accelerating progress. To put it differently, everything is in a state of becoming – which means you and everyone else will always be “newbies” in this ever-evolving technological world.

No invention is ever finalized or fixed if each invention is a starting point for another invention or development. Just think of how the advent of personal computers paved the way for the internet.

Basically, all human technology is permanently moving forward, and this process, in which every innovation has the potential to trigger another innovation, will never be straightforward or predictable.

Because of this, the best predictions we can make about future events are generalized trends.

And since technology never stops improving, you’ll always feel like a newcomer no matter what you learned or experienced in the past. You’ll have to upgrade your devices to adapt to the evolving digital landscape – and we all know how long it takes to get used to new technology.

Your permanent newbie status is also a result of the decreasing longevity of devices and software, which means you likely won’t get to spend enough time with any technology to truly master it.

For example, the average lifespan of a smartphone app – the amount of time it takes a user to stop using the technology – is now 30 days.

So we now know that technology, especially information technology, never stops moving forward. Next, we’ll explore how this fact is tied to the rapid growth of artificial intelligence.

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