This prescient book, published in 1994 on the eve of the Web age, shaped a lot of my early thinking about technology and media (as did Stewart Brand’s book about the M.I.T. Media Lab). Kevin Kelly was the editor of Wired and previously the Whole Earth Review. The book touched on topics that were strange then, but now more familiar: the wisdom of crowds, the hive mind, gamification, distributed computing and what Kelly called “the marriage of the born and the made.”
For the world of our own making has become so complicated that we must turn to the world of the born to understand how to manage it. That is, the more mechanical we make our fabricated environment, the more biological it will eventually have to be if it is to work at all. Our future is technological; but it will not be a world of gray steel. Rather our technological future is headed toward a neo-biological civilization.
[Originally posted on my discontinued This Old Book Tumblr.]