Kevin Kelly on the future of technology

These are some of the most important ideas for understanding the current and future state of the world.


I call our human made system of all technologies working together, the technium. Each technology can not stand alone. It takes a saw to make a hammer and it takes a hammer to make a saw. And it takes both tools to make a computer, and in today’s factory it takes a computer to make saws and hammers. This co-dependency creates an ecosystem of highly interdependent technologies that support each other. The higher the technologies the more intertwined, complex, and codependent they become. At this point in our evolution we need farmers to support indoor plumbing and plumbing to support banks, and banks to enable farmers, and round and round

23 other inventors created electric incandescent light bulbs prior to Thomas Edison. Edison is renowned primarily because he was the first to figure out the business model of electric lighting

while technology has gotten us into this mess (climate change) only technology can get us out of it. Only the technium (our technological system) is “big” enough to work at the global scale needed to fix this planetary sized problem. Individual personal virtue (bicycling, using recycling bins) is not enough. However the worry of some environmentalists is that technology can only contribute more to the problem and none to the solution. They believe that tech is incapable of being green because it is the source of relentless consumerism at the expense of diminishing nature, and that our technological civilization requires endless growth to keep the system going. I disagree.

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