The Technium

Kevin Kelly

Making the Inevitable Obvious

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68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 month

It’s my birthday. I’m 68. I feel like pulling up a rocking chair and dispensing advice to the young ‘uns. Here are 68 pithy bits of unsolicited advice which I offer as my birthday present to all of you. • … Continue reading →

Second Order Risk

by Kevin Kelly / 3 months

There are two orders of risk: First Order and Second Order. We see car accidents and we read about plane accidents yet we use both cars and planes. We wear a seat belt, and we fly on planes, because we … Continue reading →

Virus Scenarios

by Kevin Kelly / 3 months

My guess is that we’ll be wrong about our assumptions and first impressions about the Covid-19 virus. I just don’t know how we’ll be wrong. In an attempt to not be wrong myself, I am trying to open myself it … Continue reading →

Recent Readings 14

by Kevin Kelly / 4 months

The emergence of YouTube sites that provide virtual friendship, companionship, and cater to loneliness. Link. The Economist interviewed an AI to ask it about the future of AI. It gave coherent answers. But they weren’t what the AI thought. The … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 13

by Kevin Kelly / 5 months

  One of the best future scenarios of the next decade — 2020s —  by @fredwilson. It is hard to be not obvious and not implausible at the same time, but Fred is neither. It helps he is optimistic. “What … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 12

by Kevin Kelly / 9 months

An emerging alternative theory for chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes (among others) is that the underlying cause is bacterial. If true, this is huge. Link. Great TED talk on the 7 principles of building a livable city by … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 11

by Kevin Kelly / 10 months

Walking is a superpower. When you walk you increase many cognitive functions. I know that is true for me. A scientist offers some evidence in a new book In Praise of Walking (I have not read). Article about the book … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 10

by Kevin Kelly / 10 months

So-called Influencers don’t influence. According a 2007 paper by Duncan Watts, “large scale changes in public opinion are not driven by highly influential people who influence everyone else, but rather by easily influenced people, influencing other easily influenced people.” Link. This … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 9

by Kevin Kelly / 11 months

Global Greening: Increased CO2 in the atmosphere is plant food. Wild plants of all kinds are growing faster around the world, sequestering CO2 into biomass. This is not the whole climate story, but it should not be ignored. Good summary … Continue reading →

Cyberweapons: A Real Worry

by Kevin Kelly / 12 months

There is not too much about technology that I worry about. But one technological area I do worry a lot about is cyber war, cyber security, cyber conflict. My worry stems from the lack of accountability and the lack of … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 8

by Kevin Kelly / 12 months

IMHO, reading this subReddit written by an AI feels very similar to reading a subReddit written by humans that post on Reddit. Link. Pregnant women operate at a the limit of human energy endurance, just slightly ahead of elite ultramarathoners. … Continue reading →

Arrival of the Babel Fish

by Kevin Kelly / 12 months

In the very near future, maybe in ten years, we’ll have earpods that will do real time language translation. Someone speaks Greek to you, and with the slightest delay, you’ll hear English. You respond in English, they’ll hear Greek. It’ll … Continue reading →

Dumbsmart

by Kevin Kelly / 12 months

We need a better word than smart. Or dumb. I’m trying to come up with the word that we’ll use to describe artificial intelligences that fuel our self-driving cars, or enliven digital assistants. These agents will be incredibly smart and … Continue reading →

Ingenic

by Kevin Kelly / 12 months

Ingenic: Content created in the same media that it is consumed in. As an example, if one uses VR tools within VR to create a VR world, that content is ingenic. That is, the world has been generated within the framework of … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 7

by Kevin Kelly / 12 months

This a helpful summary of 5 lessons from history. Link. With remarkable accuracy this AI neural net from MIT can guess what a person looks like based on a short clip of their voice. It’s interesting research, but not clear … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 6

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

Sunsets on Mars are blue. Link. I too laugh. ” ‘Once we build a generally intelligent system, basically we will ask [OpenAI] to figure out a way to make an investment return for you.’” When the crowd erupted with laughter … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 5

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

This is a fun online comic (from Google) which explains the idea of “federated learning” — part of a solution for privacy. It’s way to share the advantages of aggregated data without aggregating the data, only aggregating the results. Cool. … Continue reading →

Progress and the Randomized Time Machine

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

Here is a thought experiment. I give you a ride in a time machine. It has only one lever. You can choose to go forward in time, or backwards. All trips are one-way. Whenever you arrive, you arrive as a newborn baby.  Where you … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 4

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

Second thoughts on sunscreen toxicity. Link. The verification paradox: the best perceiving machines (AI) may not be verifiable by humans; but the most “trustworthy” algos may not be the best. Good intro: Link. This is very true: “Science Fiction Doesn’t … Continue reading →

Asian Innovation

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

While there are many ways Asian cultures differ from the West, the truth is that they have much more in common that they do have in difference. However there are two characteristics in Asian culture today that hinder the innovation … Continue reading →

The Super-Power of Reading

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

I wrote this small essay for Maria Popova’s anthology The Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader.  This book is a collection of letters paired with art, words by writers matched with art by artists. The intent is to encourage … Continue reading →

The Underpopulation Bomb

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

For many years overpopulation was the Ur-worry. The prospect of too many people on a finite planet stood behind common environmental worries from pollution to global warming. Significant numbers of educated couples skipped having children at all, or no more … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 3

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

Chasing a tornado with a drone is a brilliant move. There will be more attempts like this amazing 4-min video footage. Link. “The ear is like a biological equivalent of a USB port. It is unparalleled not only as a … Continue reading →

Lie Detection

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

There is no absolutely infallible way to detect a lie in the present. We can only reliably detect lies retrospectively, in the frame of history. So the only way to not be deceived in the present is to rely on sources that … Continue reading →

Recent Readings, 2

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

With 5-year plans for hacking and cyber-spying, the Chinese are taking the long view, says FBI chief. Link. How movie directors are using virtual production methods, like in the new Lion King reboot. The make a VR world first, then film … Continue reading →

Virtual Live-Action in a Virtually Real Film

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

The new Disney movie Lion King marks a threshold for a new way of making a film, another step erasing the line between artifice and reality, between the virtual and the natural. The entire set of the film — all … Continue reading →

Recent readings

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

AIs have a problem with seeing something for the first time. Facebook says their AI had a problem detecting NZ shooting video because for first time it was from first-person POV. Link. My prediction: Greater than 50% of US consumers … Continue reading →

Data Manifesto

by Kevin Kelly / about 1 year

1) Data cannot be owned. By anybody. 2) The natural habitat of data is in the commons. It is born in the commons, and will return to the commons,     even if it is granted temporary monopolies. The longer it … Continue reading →

Why I Don’t Worry About a Super AI

by Kevin Kelly / about 5 years

[I originally wrote this in response to Jaron Lanier’s worry post on Edge.] Why I don’t fear super intelligence. It is wise to think through the implications of new technology. I understand the good intentions of Jaron Lanier and others … Continue reading →

Sourced Quotes, 21

by Kevin Kelly / about 5 years

Some people call VR “the last medium” because any subsequent medium can be invented inside of VR, using software alone. Looking back, the movie and TV screens we use today will be seen as an intermediate step between the invention … Continue reading →

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