What Technology Wants

What Technology Wants From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Inevitable a sweeping vision of technology as a living force that can expand our individual potential In this provocative book one of today s most

  • Title: What Technology Wants
  • Author: Kevin Kelly
  • ISBN: 9780143120179
  • Page: 378
  • Format: Paperback
  • From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Inevitable a sweeping vision of technology as a living force that can expand our individual potential In this provocative book, one of today s most respected thinkers turns the conversation about technology on its head by viewing technology as a natural system, an extension of biological evolution By mapping the behavFrom the author of the New York Times bestseller The Inevitable a sweeping vision of technology as a living force that can expand our individual potential In this provocative book, one of today s most respected thinkers turns the conversation about technology on its head by viewing technology as a natural system, an extension of biological evolution By mapping the behavior of life, we paradoxically get a glimpse at where technology is headed or what it wants Kevin Kelly offers a dozen trajectories in the coming decades for this near living system And as we align ourselves with technology s agenda, we can capture its colossal potential This visionary and optimistic book explores how technology gives our lives greater meaning and is a must read for anyone curious about the future.

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    1. In ‘What Technology Wants’ Kelly makes the case that the grand sweep of and direction of technology (which he terms the technium) shares parallels with evolutionary principles. He uses this analogy to suggest that there are universal laws that dictate the trajectory of technology and push it towards a predetermined goal: what technology ‘wants’ to achieve. Along the way, he paints a very happy picture of the thrust of technology – postulating that it will become ever more complex, beau [...]

    2. This is a characteristic exercise in factoid-packed mega-optimism by the founding editor of Wired Magazine. The man whose final year of tenure as head of the magazine brought us the famous "Dow 36,000" article here tackles the role of technology in our lives, and how technology has what is, in essence, a life of its own. The future is just as bright, according to What Technology Wants, as it was in "Dow 36,000" -- but, of course, we know what came of that prediction. I found the opening chapter [...]

    3. This is a history and culture book as much as it's a "technology" or futurism book. It's one of the few books I've read in the last decade that really deserved to be a BOOK—something that commands your attention and requires immersive reading. The way you see the world is likely to change by the end, and if you're not already immersed in the tech industry (and likely feel yourself "above" this book), then I guarantee you'll be talking about and recommending it to others.

    4. Wow.Kelly builds on arguments from Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, showing how technology is a continuation of biological evolution. Our minds are accelerating evolution using ideas instead of genes.To me, the most beautiful section of this book was the beginning of Chapter 4, which describes the history of the universe through the lens of a single atom. For billions of years, atoms traversed the universe in solitude, never encountering anything else but the em [...]

    5. What Technology Wants by Kevin KellyKevin Kelly views technology as a natural organic living process. He calls it the technium. He views it as being part of human evolution. I found the ideas to be fascinating but overly anthropomorphic. He gave living qualities to stone, steel, spoons, bricks, and computers. There is both a humanizing and a dehumanizing aspect to this writing. The humanizing aspect is a view of increased possibilities, more opportunities to create greater freedoms and greater c [...]

    6. Although I disagree with many of Kelly's points, my main reasons for giving this book only two stars are its length--was it really necessary to recap the history of the universe from the Big Bang?--and Kelly's almost tautological optimism about technology. He consistently dismisses or downplays criticisms and negative aspects of the evolution of technology, developing from his basic premise--that technology is a self-sustaining and somewhat autonomous system--the tautological proposition that al [...]

    7. How can a book about technology have such interesting parts about fire and agriculture, and such boring parts about computers and cell phones? He's really into the Amish.

    8. I was surprised by how much of this book I actually _dis_liked. I've been following the technium blog for a while, and always remember liking it. The book certainly has parts I appreciated, and on the whole they probably mostly compensate for the negatives. But still. I think my dislike was primarily based on evidence-lacking claims, or things passed off too quickly as some sort of fact. Trying to sound technical doesn't make something correct. Graphs without axes scales don't help.p3: "When the [...]

    9. Kevin Kelly is fascinated by the cosmos, nature, humanity and technology. But the primary focus of the narrative is contained in the book’s title, ‘What Technology Wants.’ But is it a declarative and interrogative statement? For me it turned out to be both.Kelly begins with the cosmic singularity that became the Big Bang, from which all that existed, is, or will be, originates. While denying Intelligent Design he believes that there is an imperative operating which instigates and lays the [...]

    10. Although I found a number of interesting and compelling things in this book, I can't say it was a good book overall.Kelly looks at the inexorable march of technology and seeks patterns. He does a compelling job pointing out how the "technium" (his word for the technological sphere around us) evolves, builds, multiplies choice, and is generally a force for good. Along the way he makes excellent points about the semi-directional nature of advancement and how some technologies may be inevitable as [...]

    11. This book had been on my to-read pile for a while. I don’t know why I waited so long to read it, maybe because having read quick descriptions of the Technium on blogs had so far been enough. Well, I learned much more reading the whole thing.I understand critics: it may go in different directions, be biased towards an optimistic view of the future of tech, be redundant at time. But, it was a joy to read.It was not a monograph I was reading, but an opinion piece where one can feel the author’s [...]

    12. This. This book was important. I will need to go line by line on this one. The Technium is mind blowing. Between Mukhergee and Harari Kelly swoops in with some really wonderful thoughts. I will re-read in the future. And not kidding, will go line by line and draw connections, models, correlations and inferences.

    13. Kelly is a distinguished tech journalist (former executive editor of Wired magazine) and knows everyone who’s ever been anyone in Silicon Valley. Like all the best techies of a certain age, his roots are in hippydom, as a leading light of the Whole Earth Catalogue in the 1970s. He still sees technology in terms of its wider contribution to life. Amish communities appear frequently in his writing as he admires their conscious, selective attitude to technology, echoing his own restrictive rules [...]

    14. There are One Big Idea books, and there are Lots Of Ideas books. "What Technology Wants" is clearly based on One Big Idea.Kevin Kelly's "What Technology Wants" begins with where any good narrative about technology should: the Amish. Kelly apparently spent some time living with the Amish, and then went off to be the executive editor of Wired magazine for its first seven years. The contrast between the two makes him well placed to evaluate technology as a whole, and its impact on humans.He has dec [...]

    15. This book provides a useful lens for viewing tech and humanity's relationship to tech: View tech as nature. Just as humans aren't all that different from the rest of the animals, the tech created and used by humans are not all that different from humans and the rest; it's all a part of the same evolving system of nature. In thinking about new tech, it's extremely useful to step away from the predominant tendency to zoom in and obsess over individual products. It helps to look at these products a [...]

    16. Kevin Kelly is an optimist. You can't escape that conclusion once you put down the book.As a reasonably incompetent technologist I agree with much of what he says when he speaks of the capability of technology to do good - increase our choices, liberate individuals who recognize it as a way to something new, empower struggles and revolutions (Newspapers have changed dynasties, even Twitter was an outlet for the Arab Spring to exchange voices) and can characterize an entire generation and society [...]

    17. Technology has goals in the sense that a star has goals: a star "wants" to consume fuel, and technology "wants" to develop toward complexity. Technium (the author's personification of technology) is a selfish, grasping blob that seeks energy, input, development; it's the same as any evolutionary force. It's predatory, too: it eats other blobs of technologies along the way to become mashups of whole new inevitabilities. Technology is an inescapable force. Kelly makes technology seem like it is pr [...]

    18. Pretty awful. Full of faulty logic, Strawmen, overgeneralizations, and rhetorical questions that just make you want to scream "No, not always!" I liked the chapter on the Amish, that was full of interesting details about that subculture. The chapter on the Unibomber was just plan creepy - despite the author including disclaimer after disclaimer about how he didn't condone anything - it pushed past sympathetic and into paean. He mentions several video games I've enjoyed, specifically Halo, in way [...]

    19. NYTimes piece comparing cities to living organisms is a nice primer to Kelly's introduction.I thoroughly enjoyed Kelly's unique perspective on technology as an extension of our bodies. It's not a barbeque, it's an externalization of our stomach. In this same way, humans have invented the internet as a way to externalize our brain and evolve ideas even faster than before. It's nothing new, it's a natural extension of the arc that was put in place when people first started transmitting ideas from [...]

    20. Kevin Kelly shows us the similarities in the evolution of biological life and the evolution of technology. This is demonstrated with logarithmic graphs that are hard to dispute, and the always fascinating examples of similar lifeforms/technologies emerging simultaneously yet independently at different locations.So, technology is this emergent phenomenon that accompanies biological life and seems to take over with rapid speed. And we are all scared. But: While the forces driving biological evolut [...]

    21. This is one of the most incredible books I've ever read. I would heartily recommend this to anyone. I wonder at the ability of many of my friends to comprehend anything that he puts into this book, but then, at the same time, I don't know how much I actually understood, either. In any case, the case he lays out for the evolution of technology, the process of invention, the timing of invention and ubiquity of multiple-invention, is simply astounding. I begin to wonder at wisdom of our current pat [...]

    22. If Annie Dillard had written the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey, it might have been What Technology Wants. This book is a masterpiece. I couldn't put it down, so I read it twice in a row. Note that it's very "up my alley," so your taste and mileage may vary. Without exactly addressing too much about posthuman ideas, Kelly in some ways goes even wider than the Singularity / Humanity+ authors. In the end he is a cheerleader. But many other authors are cheerleaders from Page 1, and Kelly is f [...]

    23. A disappointing pastiche of New Age ideas layered on regurgitated Jacob Bronowski, Richard Dawkins and James Burke, occasionally invoking flawed logic as well. The author enjoys making up new words, such as "technium" for the aggregate of all technology currently in use, as a substitute for actual insight. I think the most interesting chapter by far was on Amish hackers, a seemingly contradictory phrase the author invokes to describe some original research he's done interviewing various Amish on [...]

    24. I loved this book!! Dog-eared every other page. Fascinating exploration of evolutionary science and in tandem, the evolution of technology. Kelly asserts that "the technium" (AI, technology tools, web, etc.) has an imperative and momentum all its own to evolve, regardless of our thoughts on the matter. On the Pivot front, loved this line: "Yes, life has gained more ways to adapt, but what is really changing is its evolvability—its propensity and agility to create change. Think of this as chang [...]

    25. Fantástico. Ele traça um paralelo bem informado entre a evolução biológica e o desenvolvimento da tecnologia. Apresentou antes (cronologicamente) o conceito de mistura e avanço de idéias tecnológicas que o Matt Ridley discute em The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. Dá ótimas noções de como a tecnologia se torna popular e comum, e como deixa de ser considerada tecnologia no processo (não pensamos em tijolos como artefatos tecnológicos). Também gostei muito da noção de q [...]

    26. What Technology Wants is like his last book Out of Control in that it attempts to capture the "whole" of technology -- with strong emphasis on tech's symbiosis with biology and some non-obvious similarities to natural systems. It takes a big mind like Kevin's to look for technological innovation via the Amish; and to understand the similarities between natural systems like bees building a hive and man-made technologies like the Amish hive-mind at work at a communal barn-building Kevin even pushe [...]

    27. very powerful insights on why a separation between being and technology is a misconception, both in philosophy and science. The concept of technium is more than useful to understand evolution and growth of human minf and opportunities. however, this concept should be manipulated very carefully, as it also may became a totem (its descriptive power should be preserved from intellectulisation). He also talks about future, subject I am passionate about, and what he says makes a lot of sense (and a l [...]

    28. I found this book tremendously frustrating. Certainly many points of excellent incite about technology and how it develops. However, the insight is surrounded by a pseudo-mystical faith in technology as well as a very strange idea of technology as an independent entity that "wants" something. People seem to love it so maybe I'm missing something. I imagine if you can go in for technology as something with a volition that wants something, you'll like the book. If the very idea sounds strange, you [...]

    29. Kelly è evidentemente un determinista ma sa porsi in maniera sufficientemente critica da confrontarsi con un luddista per eccellenza come Unabomber e da ispirarsi agli amish, da lui a lungo frequentati. In più la nozione di technium è senza dubbio utile e molte delle riflessioni che il libro contiene sono piuttosto interessanti.

    30. Cured me of my fear of technology. Kelly is a smart optimist. His theory on technology is compelling, and, I hope, true!

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