Almost anything written by Kevin Kelly is worth a read. One of the founders of Wired magazine, and more importantly, the man behind Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools website, he is a thoughtful, humane and persistent examiner of what the future will look like. And the future is partly made by people who attempt to predict it…
Firstly, nothing is inevitable bar death and taxes, so we may be warned that this title is a challenge and not a statement of fact. Kelly wants to alert us to trends that are perhaps not obvious (such as climate change, population growth, increasing automation) but will, he thinks, have a large impact on the future. He suggests things that are all activities: becoming, sharing, remixing, flowing. In other words, human responses to the technologically-influenced world we live in.
In this he can be applauded. Though we may be dominated by technology in many areas, and although technology may define the parameters of our lives (cars lead to suburbs, and computers lead to working from home), it is indubitably true that human needs and wants will always dominate any future that occurs. The failure to appreciate this is what makes past predictions about the future so amusing: jet packs, meals in a pill, the leisure society, undersea living are all possible, were all predicted as inevitable, and yet have never really caught on because they are at odds with fundamental human behaviour. Texting was never predicted as significant, yet it suits very well the human need to keep things back, out of sight, a bit hidden – a characteristic overlooked by the futurists.