What We Can (And Can’t) Know About The Future
Insight With the Internet of Things, we’re seeing the core principles of the information revolution being pushed further and further into the physical space we inhabit daily.
“The particulars are impossible to predict, but we can still see the large-scale trends."
To find out what this means for the future, we turn to someone who has had his finger on the pulse of IoT since long before it even had a name, founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, Kevin Kelly.
“There’s an emergent layer to this connectivity that makes it hard to predict what’s going to happen,” admits Kelly. “I think the closest analogy to what we’re about to see happen is the invention of language, which is also a communications technology.”
Which is not to say we can’t see the natural continuation of current trends into the future. Some things, after all, are inevitable. “The particulars are impossible to predict, but we can still see the large-scale trends,” says Kelly. His new book, The Inevitable, is all about where those forces are pushing us.
We can see, for example, that the future is a world where people choose ever greater personalization of product and experience over an increasingly ephemeral idea of privacy in the digital age. We can see that it is a world where most every thing important in our lives — from our phone to our home to our car — develops both greater autonomy and an increased capacity to communicate, with other things, but also with us.
But, one of the most important insights is, while almost every aspect of life will be touched, many things will pass through relatively unchanged. “It’s not going to be a cascade flood that just wipes out all the unconnected things,” says Kelly. “Technology doesn’t work that way.”