Recommendation: Kevin Kelly on the future of…

Kevin Kelly is reliably insightful and thought-provoking and often fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever read or listened to something of his that hasn’t made me see the world (particularly technology) in a new way, and with my curiosity piqued to find out more. Today’s recommendation is for a new series of 36 short lectures he’s sharing on YouTube about…

More on old books: Mortimer Adler on permanent literature

The faster things change, the more important our reference points if we want to avoid motion sickness. The great books are always contemporary. In contrast, the books we call “contemporary,” because they are currently popular, last only for a year or two, or ten at the most. They soon become antiquated. You probably cannot recall the names of the bestsellers…

Kevin Kelly on the future of robots

The energy barrier The main hurdle [to building an autonomous, mobile robot] is actually not its intelligence but its energy, its power. The human body is an incredibly highly evolved machine that runs on very little energy. Our own brains operate on less energy than a light-bulb. There’s no computer in the world that can come close to performing like…

68 of the best from Kevin Kelly

This is a fun list from KK celebrating his 68th birthday. Among them: • Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points.…• Treating a person to a meal never fails, and is so easy to do. It’s powerful with old friends and a great way to make new friends.…• Don’t trust all-purpose glue.…• If you are looking for something in your…

Worse than this change

Change – especially change that feels beyond our control – is often unsettling. Will things ever be this good again? When people talk about change being the only constant,* it isn’t just change in the world around us and in the culture that we’re talking about: at an individual level, change is written into our DNA. The clock is ticking.…

William Slim on inheriting a mess

It is one thing to know what is wrong; it is another to put it right. I have no doubt whatever that Hutton, if he had been given even a few months in which to prepare, would have corrected much of this and a lot more too. But I was to find, as he had, that to retrieve the past…

It’s time you learnt (a bit about) how computers work (1)

If you know nothing about how computers work (and I know precious little), it’s probably time that you learnt. Consider: if software really does eat the world (and the signs are that it is rapidly doing so), huge swathes of your life – everything that is better off digital – will become digital. So it’s a good idea to have…

Podcast recommendation: Mark Andreessen on Software Eating the World (2019)

Here’s Mark Andreessen on the A16z podcast summarising what it means for software to eat the world: [In the original 2011 essay] I made three claims, which I would say increase as you go in audacity or arrogance, depending on your point of view. Or just flat out hubris, which is another possibility. … The first claim is that any…

Future partners

The next time you’re working a colleague or partner, ask yourself if it’s possible that you’ll still be working together in ten or twenty year’s time. If the answer is “I hope not,” think about why – and ask why it is you work with them now, and how you might stop. But if it’s even vaguely possible that you…

Motion sickness: change and stability

If you’ve ever suffered from motion sickness in a car or on a boat, you probably know that it helps to look at a fixed (or at least slower moving) point on the horizon. A stable reference point helps your body to make sense of the continual movement and to stay oriented and balanced. Rapid, continual change creates its own…