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Filmed on Thursday July 14, 02016

Kevin Kelly

The Next 30 Digital Years

Kevin Kelly was the founding editor of Wired magazine and serves on the board of The Long Now Foundation. His books include Out of Control, What Technology Wants, Cool Tools and The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.

Since the mid-01980s Kevin Kelly has been creating, and reporting on, the digital future. His focus is the long-term trends and social consequences of technology. Kelly’s new book, THE INEVITABLE: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, is a grand synthesis of his thinking on where technology is heading in the next few decades, and how we can embrace it to maximize its benefits, and minimize its harms.

Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine and is a founding board member of The Long Now Foundation.

Digital is just getting started

In Kevin Kelly’s view, a dozen “inevitable” trends will drive the next 30 years of digital progress. Artificial smartnesses, for example, will be added to everything, all quite different from human intelligence and from each other. We will tap into them like we do into electricity to become cyber-centaurs -- co-dependent humans and AIs. All of us will need to perpetually upgrade just to stay in the game.

Every possible display surface will become a display, and study its watchers. Everything we encounter, “if it cannot interact, it is broken.” Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) will become the next platform after smartphones, conveying a profound sense of experience (and shared experience), transforming education (“it burns different circuits in your brain”), and making us intimately trackable. “Everything that can be tracked will be tracked,” and people will go along with it because “vanity trumps privacy,” as already proved on Facebook. “Wherever attention flows, money will follow.”

Access replaces ownership for suppliers as well as consumers. Uber owns no cars; AirBnB owns no real estate. On-demand rules. Sharing rules. Unbundling rules. Makers multiply. “In thirty years the city will look like it does now. We will have rearranged the flows, not the atoms. We will have a different idea of what a city is, and who we are, and how we relate to other people.”

In the Q&A, Kelly was asked what worried him. “Cyberwar,” he said. “We have no rules. Is it okay to take out an adversary’s banking system? Disasters may have to occur before we get rules. We’re at the point that any other civilization in the galaxy would have a world government. I have no idea how to do that.”

Kelly concluded: “We are at the beginning of the beginning—the first hour of day one. There have never been more opportunities. The greatest products of the next 25 years have not been invented yet.”

“You are not late.”

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SALT Summaries Book

$2.99 Also available as a paperback book

Condensed ideas about long-term thinking summarized by Stewart Brand
(with Kevin Kelly, Alexander Rose and Paul Saffo) and a foreword by Brian Eno.

Seminar Sponsors

Will Hearst • David and Abby Rumsey • Kim Polese • Shel Kaphan • Garrett Gruener • Stream Guys Media Streaming • The Libra Foundation • Peter Baumann • Brian Eno • Greg Stikeleather • Richard and Angie Thieriot • Nion McEvoy • Cameo Wood • Susie Tompkins Buell Fund • Panta Rhea Foundation • Patrick Tufts • Ping Fu • Peter Schwartz • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation • Dean Ornish • The Long Now Membership

We would also like to recognize George Cowan (01920 - 02012) for being the first to sponsor this series.