7 — Kevin Kelly

In this special episode of Looking Sideways, I talk with writer, editor and internet pioneer, Kevin Kelly. He’s just published a new book, The Inevitable, which draws out a broad sweep of trends that he believes will shape our future.

The ideas are set out with the confidence that you’d expect from a book with such a bold title. And while Kelly’s work has been very influential to me over the last 20-odd years, I found much in it that I disagreed with. So this was a great opportunity to understand his perspective, and in particular his optimism, better.
In this interview, we cover his formative years travelling, writing, and getting online in the 1980s, and how these experiences shaped his thinking. He talks about the differences between protopian and utopian thinking. And he extols the virtues of both maniacal leadership and collaborative, “socialist” technology.
We also cover one of the most deeply embedded forces in technology today – data collection – and consider how smarter data-driven services can be developed without allowing unbalanced surveillance states to emerge in their wake.

This series of Looking Sideways is a Lighthouse production.