The Future of Technological Innovation with Kevin Kelly

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“Thinking different is the engine of creation, innovation and wealth. And if we are all connected together 24 hours a day with our devices, it’s very hard to have a different idea.” — Kevin Kelly 

Kevin Kelly is co-founder and former Executive Editor of WIRED magazine. Prior to starting WIRED, Kevin was publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Review, a journal of unorthodox technical news that featured tech-related trends and is known for being the first consumer magazine to report on virtual reality, ecological restoration, Internet culture, and artificial life.

On today’s episode, Kevin shares his vision for the future of technologies such as A.I., driverless cars, and augmented reality. Kevin predicts it will take more than a decade for driverless cars to become the norm on our roadways. He attributes this largely to the fact that there needs to be a significant amount of infrastructure built before autonomous cars hit the road — things such as smart traffic lights and other technology that can interface directly with your vehicle. “You need a smart environment as well as a smart car,” says Kevin. 

What about artificial intelligence? Kevin believes it is the “most fundamental technological change coming that will touch every aspect of our lives.” However, his vision for A.I. is different from the pop culture narrative. Instead, he predicts that A.I. will be very intelligent, just not intelligent in the same ways that humans are.  

“If we want the answer to a question, we will ask a machine but if we want a good question, we hire a human,” Kevin says. 

Much of our time as humans will be spent managing A.I. systems and setting the values that determine their behavior. In the end, though, Kevin believes that it is very possible that A.I. will make the human race better, pushing us to identify and define our ethics.

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Quotes from Kevin:

“These things we are making [A.I. and robots] that will make decisions for us, or make decisions on their own, is a little bit like mind children. So it’s very scary when children grow because they are going to be deciding things, and they have great power. In order [for them to succeed], we have to transmit values, and I think that is kind of what we are doing now with A.I. and robots.”

“I am pro-continuous ongoing research of all things. What we want is constant vigilance, constant testing. We shouldn’t say ‘well, it was approved 20 years ago.’ I’m for a data-driven, constant measurement of all kinds of things.”

“I try not to close my mind too much. I try to be a little bit agnostic about things in general because I don’t want to come to premature conclusions which can kind of blind oneself later on.”

“I write in order to understand what I think. I have no idea what I think until I try to write it. So writing for me is a way of thinking. Writing is forcing me to think clearly, to research, to be able to describe it.”


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