WTF? Technology and you

WTF: What’s the Future?

Tim O’Reilly
Gyroscopic ‘deflector’ gunsights like this Ferranti Mark IID helped WW2 pilots to aim ahead of enemy planes to where the target would be by the time their bullets arrived.
(Imperial War Museum)

If you’re doing meaningful work, you’re trying to hit a moving target, and your job isn’t made any easier by how fast the world is changing.

These resources should help you calibrate your ‘deflector gunsight’ by giving you a sense of where technology seems to be going, hopefully giving you a better task of hitting what you’re aiming for. This is one that I’ll update periodically, adding texture or new resources.

The Kevin Kelly Section

Kevin Kelly – co-founder of Wired magazine, omnivorous techno-hippy – gets his own section. He’s funny and humane, and good at identifying trends and tendencies in tech and extrapolating these into the future. One of the many helpful ideas I’ve taken from KK is the realisation that we’re actually only at the beginning of the computer revolution. It feels like something that’s already happened – ‘if only I’d made a website in 1993’ – but Kelly argues that a hundred years from now people people will look back on this time as a golden age and say, ‘I wish I’d started then.’

KK Books

New Rules for the New Economy: Radical Strategies for a Connected World
Kevin Kelly wrote this in 1995, predicting almost everything that happened with the internet between then and now, and it still feels incredibly relevant. And it’s free on his blog. Read and re-read in installments

What Technology Wants
It gets slow in places, but looking at technology as a new zoological ‘kingdom’ gives a whole new set of fascinating – and at times scary – insights.

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that will Shape our Future
This is on my ‘to read’ list. I guess it’s an update and extension of ‘New Rules’, and I’m looking forward to find out

KK in Podcasts

Tim Ferriss show Ep 25: Kevin Kelly – WIRED Co-Founder, Polymath, Most Interesting Man In The World
A decent introduction and a fun listen

Tim Ferris Show #166: Kevin Kelly – AI, Virtual Reality, and The Inevitable
Unpacking ‘The Inevitable’ and a lot of other stuff

Econtalk, June 20 2016: The Inevitable
More free audio, with the great Russ Roberts poking around KK’s ideas and their implications for the economy.

Other Resources

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
Walter Isaacson’s fantastic story of the digital revolution runs from the mid-1800s to very-nearly now. The audiobook is great. A key theme is how technology accumulates incrementally, as well as in great leaps forward – and the importance of teams and culture (as opposed to great individuals), and of private and government-sponsored contributions to technological advance.

The Second Machine Age – Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
Erik Brynjolfsson – on the list. Features in an econtalk episode.

Tim Ferris Show #297 – Bob Metcalfe — The Man (and Lessons) Behind Ethernet, Metcalfe’s Law, and More
Another fascinating Silicon Valley story

Econtalk, August 28 2017 – Benedict Evans on the Future of Cars
One of my favourite Econtalk episodes. Evans’ discussion of the evolution of cars is fascinating, and there’s a lot to learn from the way he thinks about the future.

WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us
Tim O’Reilly – it’s on the ‘to read’ list.

Econtalk October 5th 2015: Tim O’Reilly on Technology and Work
Econtalk October 9th 2017 – Tim O’Reilly on What’s the Future
I’m flagging these as much for myself as for anyone else here – I think they were good?

There’s a lot by Seth Godin that could end up in here too…

To be continued…

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