Kelly, K. (2016). The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future. New York: VIKING.
The futuristic stories I tend to enjoy reading and watching are dystopian in nature. Whether it is a story about an authoritarian society or the rise of the machines, neither tends to be depicted pleasantly. In “The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future”, a free flowing set of predictions are given about a future in which the machines do rise, but it is not gloomy.
Kevin Kelly challenges the reader to contrast how technology has changed their own lives, without directly doing so. He throws out there actual statistics (brownie points from me), that the reader cannot dispute. I found myself reflecting on using the cumbersome technologies of the years past. For example, Kelly (2016) states, “It is 10 times easier today to make a simple video than 10 years ago” (p.166). Ownership is becoming less prevalent and the ability to access media such as books (Kindle Unlimited) and music (Apple music) is become more available (Kelly, 2016, p.109). I have taken advantage of the latter of these services, making my access to music easier than it was even 2 years ago. As someone who works in the software industry, I can attest to the ever growing industry of selling software as a Service (SaS) that is discussed on page 113. The evolution is moving us towards a protopia, which as Kelly (2016) explains as, “things are better today than they were yesterday, although only a little better” (p.13).
The gathering of data to improve our lives is touched upon in scattered parts of the book. Many of the technologies that will be developed will be reliant on gathering more data to improve (machine learning). The idea of “big brother” can make people nervous, including me (Kelly, 2016). But, I was reminded of all the ways data is already gathered to better the life of people: ride-shares, drone surveillance, cell phone locations, smart homes, grocery loyalty cards, streaming services and even book reading (Kelly, 2016, pp.252-254)! Read this, to learn more about about what is “the inevitable”!