Get a free audiobook

The Inevitable

Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
Written by: Kevin Kelly
Narrated by: George Newbern
Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

From one of our leading technology thinkers and writers, a guide through the 12 technological imperatives that will shape the next 30 years and transform our lives.

Much of what will happen in the next 30 years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion. In this fascinating, provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives - from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture - can be understood as the result of a few long-term accelerating forces. Kelly both describes these deep trends - flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking, and questioning - and demonstrates how they overlap and are codependent on one another. These larger forces will completely revolutionize the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other. By understanding and embracing them, says Kelly, it will be easier for us to remain on top of the coming wave of changes and to arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that bring forth maximum benefits.

Kelly's bright, hopeful book will be indispensable to anyone who seeks guidance on where their business, industry, or life is heading - what to invent, where to work, in what to invest, how to better reach customers, and what to begin to put into place - as this new world emerges.

©2016 Kevin Kelly (P)2016 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Long-winded and slow-paced

While the reading reflects the tone and pace of the book, the book itself is show-paced, repetitive and long-winded.

Conceptually, the ideas about technological innovation and the inevitability of certain types of progress are interesting, but both the anecdotes and forward-looking stories used to illustrate the concepts being discussed often seem unnecessarily long and there are simply too many of them. They do little to add to the reader's (or listener's) understanding.

The paper version, which I also own (I bought the audio version so I could stop reading the paper version because I kept falling asleep), could have been a third of the volume; the audio version a third of the length.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not engaging

The broad ideas presented are interesting. However, the way the book s written is not naturally engaging. I Usually finish an audio book in a span of a week, I put aside this book many times and had to force myself to come back to it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A possible guide to submission to the Holos(sp)

Blew all my bits to bits! Essential reading for 21st century humans. Read and report back.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 2017-02-20

Predicting is hard, especially about the future

The author uses twelve verbs to frame the inevitable forces shaping our future.
These are:
Becoming: Things will change faster
Cognifying: Things will have intelligence
Flowing: Things will be streamed
Screening: Things will be on screens
Accessing: Things will be on the cloud
Sharing: Things will be Shared and collaboratively created
Filtering: Things will be personalized
Remixing: Things will be edited and remixed
Interacting: Virtual Reality will increase
Tracking: Things will be tracked
Questioning: Questions will be more important than answers
Beginning: Things will continue changing

This is largely just a survey of current and cutting edge technologies and predicts these trends will continue and accelerate. I think history shows this is the easiest. most common, and most commonly wrong, form of prediction. The author has a quite positive outlook on the future, but it is not clear this optimum is well founded.

The author puts a lot into the cognifying verb. This includes robots and all of Artificial Intelligence. Yes this will continue, but the specifics and consequences are difficult to predict.

The best chapter was the last which makes clear just how much we don't know.

My main takeaway from this was we really don't know what is Inevitable plus ONE interesting idea. One of my concerns about the future has been that throughout history insulated societies have become somewhat stagnant until they came in contact with a quite different culture than a period of transformation occurs. With global information sharing, I feared this pattern might come to an end (unless we bump into some aliens). Instead Kelly points out we don't need aliens. We will build them in the form of AI, and the pattern will not only continue, but accelerate. I was chagrined that I did not think of this myself.

The narration is quite good but most of the ideas seem a bit trite.

61 of 64 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • George J. Peacock
  • 2016-08-01

Most Important Book I'll Read This Year

This book was written at a level where it could be accessible to anyone, and that's perfect, because everyone should read it. I am absolutely blown away by what I've learned, and feel that I'd be very much in the dark moving into the future if I hadn't read it. Technological shifts are about to irreversibly alter the way humanity exists, and Kevin gives a brilliant and informative glimpse into that coming world. Highly recommend.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 2016-08-01

Clever bloke

No single person can reliably predict the future.

If you review past predictions about the present, they are always massively wrong, with a few tid-bits of accuracy. Some things are obvious: the population will increase, technology will improve, etc., but there are always events, ideas, developments and emergent properties that no single person’s brain is likely to be able to predict (a panel of experts wouldn’t do much better either).

What’s good about this book is that the author outlines the general trends and directions in which the future is likely to develop – from a technological perspective that is – so this book talks a lot about what will happen to the internet, along with many other technological subjects like robots and artificial intelligence. He classifies this into several themes: ‘flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking and questioning’ and then discusses each of these in turn. Actually, now I come to think about it, the book is really about the future of INFORMATION technology rather than the future of technology in general.

Because the focus is mostly on information technology rather than on wider geopolitical, social or environmental issues, he doesn’t really make an attempt to predict what will happen regarding major problems affecting the future of humanity and the planet: population growth, poverty, global warming, pollution, loss of biodiversity, warfare, space exploration etc., but he does present a well-reasoned, imaginative and entertaining discussion of how the future of information technology might develop. I enjoyed it.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Fragrantica
  • 2016-07-22

You should set your expectations right

Kevin Kelly describes his meeting with inventor of hypertext Ted Nelson. He talks about Nelson's convoluted sketches of hypertext and with even some irony telling how nobody even dreamed off what will it become and what will be driving force of the web.

I think that this book should be treated the same... Kevin Kelly gives some convoluted sketches of future development and hypotheses on directions and driving forces and try to imagine how all that will look like but most probably from distance of 20-30 years we will look at those hypothesis and say wow that was a wild guess and it was so wrong but still there was something.

Just for the sake that there might be something I give 5 stars, performance is also excellent but overall still 4 stars for the frustrations of oversimplifying some things pr omitting important moments.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dan Collins
  • 2016-08-16

Interesting but not Arresting

The concept of the book is solid. And it is written well. I got the impression that the author might have been stretching for material as opposed to stretching to get to all the material. This book attempts to bring into focus trends, not technologies. I wish the author had done it with fewer words. But I also cannot deny that the lengths he went to to make the case for the trends he argues for is comprehensive and compelling.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • A. Yoshida
  • 2017-12-30

Will reshape your thinking about technology

The technological trends are: becoming, cognifying, flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, interacting, tracking, questioning, and beginning. It's hard to grasp these concepts described with verbs but the book contains a lot of good information. For example, becoming is about ever-changing technologies. The apps, smartphones, etc. that we used (or that didn't even exist) several years ago are not the same ones that we are using now. We are constantly becoming new users... getting familiar with the new features and changes to get back to the state of being a proficient user again. Cognifying could be better described as artificial intelligence. Flowing is about product evolution. We used to think of music in physical terms, like an album or CD. But now music could be digital downloads or a subscription to Spotify. Products are flowing from a fixed state (like hardcopy books, where all copies are exactly the same) to a fluid state (like eBooks, which can be customized to the readers' preference on their devices and corrected through updates). This book will reframe your paradigm of what exactly is the product or service. For example, do we want a car or do we really want a transportation service (like Uber or Lyft)?

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Dingle
  • 2016-06-26

Like listening to one long list after another

There were several interesting ideas in the book. However, I was expecting more of a Malcolm Gladwell type of writing and felt like I got one long list after another of where screens will exist in the future as an example.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Curious Accountant
  • 2016-06-14

Not worth the time

This book is incredibly general and really written for an audience with minimal involvement in technology. The first and last chapters are the only ones with substance and are rehashing of ideas in Kelly's prior book: "What technology wants". Just listen to that book and be done.

27 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Valeriy R.
  • 2016-06-08

Worth it's weight in gold

Has tons of very interesting and incredibly useful information! It's like if somebody in early 90's wrote a book, about how powerful e-commerce, social networks, user generated videos, crowdfunding, etc. are going to be.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mikey
  • 2016-08-04

The Future Has Arrived

This book is an interesting highlight on the future of technology and society. The chapters provide an exciting and detailed look into how humans will change the way they think alongside evolving technology.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jean-Pierre Schnyder
  • 2016-10-16

Un must absolu pour qui aime la technologie

Détaillé, factuel, mnis aussi très conceptuel ! Ce livre est magistral. Il a ravi le geek qui sommeille en moi !

1 of 1 people found this review helpful