Some business books are like bananas: easy to consume, bland, too mushy. But when IDEO Futures host Diego Rodriguez dug into podcast guest Kevin Kelly’s latest book, The Inevitable, it felt like something entirely different. Kelly’s book outlines the technological trends that will drive every aspect of business going forward. It’s no banana. It’s more like a pomegranate—layered and fractal. Peeling back the layers requires work, but the rewards are juicy.
Kelly masterfully weaves together what he calls the 12 forces, tech trends driving us into the future. In Kelly’s view, the forces—Becoming, Flowing, Filtering, Remixing, etc—lean on and reinforce each other. Each is a combination of technologies and societal factors that give us a preview of what the future will look like. In the Cognifying chapter, Kelly details the ways artificial intelligence is already catalyzing technological disruption, and imagines the infinite ways it will continue to change our experience. What happens when physical objects aren’t just smart, but also constantly learning? Like many of the chapters in the book, Cognifying is both entirely relatable and totally mind bending; you unpeel layer after layer, occasionally pausing to savor the individual seeds.
As Rodriguez notes in the episode, each chapter almost seems like a book unto itself. “It feels like what we get here at IDEO with a group of people in a project space for six months.” It turns out, some of these chapters started 10 years ago as blog posts, then went through ruthless revisions by magazine editors, and were rewritten again over the years, eventually ripening into this multifaceted fruit.