Out of Control Book Summary - Out of Control Book explained in key points
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Out of Control summary

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

4.2 (41 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

Out of Control by Kevin Kelly explores the future of technology and the ways in which it can help us better understand the world around us. The book advocates for using technology in a more organic and decentralized way, which can lead to a more sustainable and fulfilling future.

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    Out of Control
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    The future of technology will see the merging of natural and artificial characteristics.

    Think back to the year 1994 – if you were alive then. Remember how back then the internet had not yet really caught on, and there were no social networks, tablets or camera phones?

    Well, despite this technological “primitivity” scientists and technologists back then were already asking the same questions raised today about the future of technology.

    One such key question is: How can we drive technological progress by learning lessons from nature?

    As an example, consider artificial intelligence. At the moment, computers and machines can only perform the tasks they are programmed to do: they only exhibit clockwork logic. For instance, if you program a machine to build a car door, it can repeat this task over and over again, but it can’t do anything else without being reprogrammed.

    But in nature, we find far more complex “technology.” Take the human brain, for example. It can think, learn and evolve thanks to the experiences it gathers. This is known as vivid logic, and if we wish to improve on artificial intelligence, we need to emulate this vivid logic in machines too.

    Yet learning from nature is just one lane in a two-way street: we can also add elements of technology to nature. In other words, while we can learn from nature to build machines that are capable of learning, we can also enhance natural systems with the help of technology.

    One example of this is bioengineering: breeding and modifying plants and animals in specific ways designed to benefit mankind – for example, by selectively breeding cows so that their offspring produce more milk.

    Going even further, we can also see the convergence of nature and technology in bionic vivisystems: networks of individuals and machines in which the network itself is a living entity. One natural example of a vivisystem in nature is a beehive, which is capable of learning, adapting and surviving, but is not an individual organism in itself.

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    What is Out of Control about?

    Though written from the perspective of 1994, these blinks paint a startlingly current and still futuristic image of how technological developments like the internet and artificial intelligence could affect society and humanity.

    Out of Control Review

    Out of Control (2019) by Kevin Kelly is a thought-provoking exploration of the complex systems that shape our world. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    1. It offers insightful perspectives on how technology, biology, and society interact, revealing the interconnectedness of our world.
    2. Through vivid examples, the book demonstrates how emergent behaviors and self-organization play a crucial role in shaping our future.
    3. With its engaging storytelling and thought-provoking ideas, Out of Control challenges conventional thinking and dares readers to embrace the chaos and unpredictability of our complex world.

    Best quote from Out of Control

    A law of God: When something works, dont mess with it; build on top of it.

    —Kevin Kelly
    example alt text

    Who should read Out of Control?

    • Fans of science fiction
    • People interested in the long-term impact of the internet on society
    • Futurists and visionaries

    About the Author

    Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, a leading source of analysis on the societal effects of cutting edge technological advances.

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    Out of Control FAQs 

    What is the main message of Out of Control?

    The main message of Out of Control is that complexity and chaos can lead to emergent order and innovation.

    How long does it take to read Out of Control?

    The reading time for Out of Control varies depending on the reader, but it generally takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Out of Control a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Out of Control is a fascinating read that explores the relationship between technology and nature. Highly recommended.

    Who is the author of Out of Control?

    Kevin Kelly is the author of Out of Control.

    What to read after Out of Control?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Out of Control, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly
    • Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom
    • Phaedo by Plato
    • Good Energy by Casey Means
    • Deep Work by Cal Newport
    • Healthy Kids, Happy Kids by Elisa Song
    • 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam
    • The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll
    • Burnout Immunity by Kandi Wiens
    • Atlas of AI by Kate Crawford