This provocative book introduces a brand-new view of technology. It suggests that technology as a whole is not a jumble of wires and metal but a living, evolving organism that has its own unconscious needs and tendencies. Kevin Kelly looks out through the eyes of this global technological system to discover "what it wants." He uses vivid examples from the past to trace technology's long course and then follows a dozen trajectories of technology into the near future to project where technology is headed.
This new theory of technology offers three practical lessons: By listening to what technology wants, we can better prepare ourselves and our children for the inevitable technologies to come; by adopting the principles of proaction and engagement, we can steer technologies into their best roles; and by aligning ourselves with the long-term imperatives of this near-living system, we can capture its full gifts.
Written in intelligent and accessible language, this is a fascinating, innovative, and optimistic look at how humanity and technology join to produce increasing opportunities in the world and how technology can give our lives greater meaning.
Cutting-edge technology watchdog Kevin Kelly has done it again. It is no longer silly to think of technology as having a pulse, and the former editor of Wired magazine certainly has his finger on it. In this compelling new view of the many parallels between biological development in humans and humans' development of technology, the interconnectedness of the biosophere and the technium has never been so clear. Supergeeks rejoice, not only for this exciting speculation on what our future holds, but also for the fact that it is narrated by the one and only Paul Boehmer, a terrific Shakespearean actor better known for his role as stranded Vulcan in one of the most beloved eipsodes of Star Trek: Enterprise.
Boehmer gives voice to this deep scientific inquiry with energy and precision. Kelly is keen on researching a breadth of evidences to secure his theory about what technology wants from us, and Boehmer steps lightly through the many lists of supporting examples in a tone that shows just how captivating they are. Did you know that rock ants have a system for calculating the volume of a room, in order determine the appropriate dimensions of the nest they want to build? Did you know that the Amish are in a heated debate over the possible adoption of cell phones? Did you know that a toaster makes decisions? The scope of Kelly's considerations is astounding.
This comprehensive look at technology as a near-living system will shock and delight both luddites and technophiles alike. Kelly's previous major work, Out of Control, was at the top of the Wachowski brothers' required reading list for actors in their Matrix film trilogy. This time around, the first few chapters are almost like watching the evolutionary montage that opens Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Perhaps the futuristic trajectory of Kelly's book is slightly more optimistic and his conclusion somewhat more scientific, but given the mirror of Kubrick's film, Trekkie Paul Boehmer is the perfect choice of narrator for this weirdly wonderful book. Megan Volpert
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Poor Science to Back a Solid Thesis
Sprawling scope, an ambivalent thesis
- David Everling