The one-sentence summary
Technology as a whole is not a jumble of wires and metal but a living, natural system whose origins go all the way back to the beginning of life. Just as biological evolution has unconscious tendencies, so does technology.
- This book looks at where technology is taking us, whether it is natural, and if it is a force for good.
- He suggests that technology as a whole is not a jumble of wires and metal but a living, natural system whose origins go all the way back to the beginning of life. Just as biological evolution has unconscious tendencies, so does technology.
- He suggests three lessons we can learn:
1. By listening to what technology wants, we can prepare for the future
2. By adopting the principles of proaction and engagement, we can steer technologies to their best roles
3. By aligning ourselves with it, we capture its full gifts
- Proaction involves anticipation, continual assessment, prioritization of risks, rapid correction of harm, and redirection (not prohibition).
- After a fleeting reference by Aristotle, the word technology was not used until 1802 in the Industrial revolution.
- Kelly calls the interconnected system of all technology the technium – something that wants what we design it to want.
- Exotropy is his word for a turning outward – flinging forward an unbroken sequence of unlikely exercises.
- We are now symbiotic with technology, having evolved with it – in fact it even pre-dates us.
- Homo sapiens is a tendency, not an entity – humanity is a process.
- The computer chip conducts more energy per second than the sun or a volcano.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- Technology casts a long shadow. The Romans invented road width. The size of the space shuttle engines were determined by the width of road and rail system they could travel on from Utah to Florida. Thus the world’s most advanced transportation system was designed by the width of two horses’ arse.
- He examines in detail Amish society in which new technologies are test-driven and monitored before adoption or rejection.
- GRIN technology is already very much on its way (geno, robo, info, nano)
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- This is a monster of a book with some controversial views – approach with care.
- He agrees with the manifesto of the notorious Unabomber who used bombs to protest at technological advancement. Not everyone will like this.