Last month I convinced myself that a robot would steal my job within the next two decades. And that idea, somewhat ironically, came from a book.
Enter The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, by founding Wired Magazine editor Kevin Kelly.
The Inevitable is, intrinsically, a pretty daunting title. We always use unpleasant events to refer to “The Inevitable”: deaths, taxes, family reunions, and the like.
But Kelly’s envisioned a fairly optimistic inevitable future; a scenario where current technological trends (screening, sharing, remixing, and tracking, to name a few) will reshape our day-to-day. Among other seemingly radical ideas, here’s a sampling of Kelly’s inevitable predictions:
- We will own practically nothing in the future. A la Airbnb, the future we’s will share office spaces, apartments, bicycles, cars, clothes… you name it, you can probably rent it. But maybe not food.
- Much like what we are seeing now with wearable technology, computer implants will be all the rage. We’re already seeing some of this in fashion with the Jedi community.
- Do you have a bike helmet? Make it a smart-helmet that tracks your collisions! Do you wear shoes? Smart-shoes could track steps so much better than Garmin! Everything that doesn’t already have a computer in it will likely have one within the next 30 years.
Does that seem crazy to you? It does to me, too. Technocratic jingoism can’t inherently foster social change. It takes early adopters, entrepreneurial spirit, social acceptance.
But what happens when acceptance permeates a culture? It’s no longer technocratic. In fact, if you were alive in the early 20th Century, you might call it progressivism.
This isn’t even a new idea. Even Mozart was quoted, “I really do not aim at any originality.” And that was the 18th Century, which makes Rock Me Amadeusseem completely derivative now.
Was Vine inherently original? Not really. Add sound to a .GIF and boom: roasted. But did it revolutionize how we share cat videos? Completely.
So where’s the tipping point, exactly? For the sake of posterity, October 2016 could have been a needle-sized lynchpin in the proverbial Earth-sized grenade.