The Inevitable

Understanding The 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

This week’s book review is The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly.

Kelly is one of the founders of Wired Magazine and is a well-respected futurist. The Inevitable describes 12 trends that Kelly predicts will have a major impact in our society over the next 20+ years. These are listed below:

  1. Becoming – This is best described by a quote from the book “technology is taking us to protopia. More accurately, we have already arrived in protopia. Protopia is a state of becoming, rather than a destination. It is a process. In the protopian mode, things are better today than they were yesterday, although only a little better”
  2. Cognifying – the rise and evolution of Artificial Intelligence
  3. Flowing – All of our knowledge is moving to the internet and seamlessly flows wherever it is needed, whenever it is needed.
  4. Screening – Everything is inputted, displayed by, and read from a screen. We have become the “People of the Screen.” It won’t be long before online books allow readers to hyperlink the contents to other related books (similar to Wikipedia) forming a global, hyperlinked and hyperconnected library of knowledge.
  5. Accessing – Ownership of items will soon become a thing of the past. Instant access to things will become the norm. No longer will you need to own a car, bicycle, motorbike or other material property. If you want them, they will be available on demand.
  6. Sharing – This is an environment where sharing becomes the norm rather than the exception. Great examples of this today are Kickstarter, Kiva, Prosper, Lending Club, and software like Linux.
  7. Filtering – As online data grows, methods are required to filter through all the data and turn it into useful and relevant information customized for each user. Amazon, Netflix, and Google are great examples of personalized filters.
  8. Remixing – Taking existing content, services, and products and remixing them into valuable services not thought of or viable in the past.
  9. Interacting – Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are posed to take off and dramatically impact our world.
  10. Tracking – Online tracking of everything from locations, biometrics, purchases, preferences, etc. is set to take the world by storm through the IoT.
  11. Questioning – The rate of questioning will increase as every question that is answered breeds multiple new questions. We keep discovering new things about our world, our health and our universe yet no discovery is complete. It comes with a completely new set of questions that lead and will continue to lead to an infinite world of discovery and opportunity.
  12. Beginning – We are just beginning down so many technological paths and societal changes. It is an exciting time to be alive as we are just beginning many of these journeys.


My takeaway from this book is that things are changing fast and many of these changes will have dramatic impacts on our businesses and on society. As a business leader, I need to stay on top of these changing trends to ensure that I and my business are positioned to thrive.


Note that I have previously reviewed the following books in 2017:

  1. Les McKeown’s Predictable Success
  2. Exponential Organzations by Salim Ismail, Michael S. Malone and  Yuri van Geest
  3. Smart Thinking by Art Markman
  4. Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution
  5. RG LeTourneau’s Mover of Men and Mountains


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