• The Inevitable

  • Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
  • By: Kevin Kelly
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (4,577 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Best Seller

From one of our leading technology thinkers and writers, a guide through the 12 technological imperatives that will shape the next 30 years and transform our lives.

Much of what will happen in the next 30 years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion. In this fascinating, provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives - from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture - can be understood as the result of a few long-term, accelerating forces. Kelly both describes these deep trends - interacting, cognifying, flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking, and questioning - and demonstrates how they overlap and are codependent on one another.

These larger forces will completely revolutionize the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other. By understanding and embracing them, says Kelly, it will be easier for us to remain on top of the coming wave of changes and to arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that bring forth maximum benefits. Kelly’s bright, hopeful book will be indispensable to anyone who seeks guidance on where their business, industry, or life is heading - what to invent, where to work, in what to invest, how to better reach customers, and what to begin to put into place - as this new world emerges. 

©2016 Kevin Kelly (P)2016 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Inevitable

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Predicting is hard, especially about the future

The author uses twelve verbs to frame the inevitable forces shaping our future.
These are:
Becoming: Things will change faster
Cognifying: Things will have intelligence
Flowing: Things will be streamed
Screening: Things will be on screens
Accessing: Things will be on the cloud
Sharing: Things will be Shared and collaboratively created
Filtering: Things will be personalized
Remixing: Things will be edited and remixed
Interacting: Virtual Reality will increase
Tracking: Things will be tracked
Questioning: Questions will be more important than answers
Beginning: Things will continue changing

This is largely just a survey of current and cutting edge technologies and predicts these trends will continue and accelerate. I think history shows this is the easiest. most common, and most commonly wrong, form of prediction. The author has a quite positive outlook on the future, but it is not clear this optimum is well founded.

The author puts a lot into the cognifying verb. This includes robots and all of Artificial Intelligence. Yes this will continue, but the specifics and consequences are difficult to predict.

The best chapter was the last which makes clear just how much we don't know.

My main takeaway from this was we really don't know what is Inevitable plus ONE interesting idea. One of my concerns about the future has been that throughout history insulated societies have become somewhat stagnant until they came in contact with a quite different culture than a period of transformation occurs. With global information sharing, I feared this pattern might come to an end (unless we bump into some aliens). Instead Kelly points out we don't need aliens. We will build them in the form of AI, and the pattern will not only continue, but accelerate. I was chagrined that I did not think of this myself.

The narration is quite good but most of the ideas seem a bit trite.

74 people found this helpful

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Not worth the time

This book is incredibly general and really written for an audience with minimal involvement in technology. The first and last chapters are the only ones with substance and are rehashing of ideas in Kelly's prior book: "What technology wants". Just listen to that book and be done.

30 people found this helpful

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Clever bloke

No single person can reliably predict the future.

If you review past predictions about the present, they are always massively wrong, with a few tid-bits of accuracy. Some things are obvious: the population will increase, technology will improve, etc., but there are always events, ideas, developments and emergent properties that no single person’s brain is likely to be able to predict (a panel of experts wouldn’t do much better either).

What’s good about this book is that the author outlines the general trends and directions in which the future is likely to develop – from a technological perspective that is – so this book talks a lot about what will happen to the internet, along with many other technological subjects like robots and artificial intelligence. He classifies this into several themes: ‘flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking and questioning’ and then discusses each of these in turn. Actually, now I come to think about it, the book is really about the future of INFORMATION technology rather than the future of technology in general.

Because the focus is mostly on information technology rather than on wider geopolitical, social or environmental issues, he doesn’t really make an attempt to predict what will happen regarding major problems affecting the future of humanity and the planet: population growth, poverty, global warming, pollution, loss of biodiversity, warfare, space exploration etc., but he does present a well-reasoned, imaginative and entertaining discussion of how the future of information technology might develop. I enjoyed it.

28 people found this helpful

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Most Important Book I'll Read This Year

This book was written at a level where it could be accessible to anyone, and that's perfect, because everyone should read it. I am absolutely blown away by what I've learned, and feel that I'd be very much in the dark moving into the future if I hadn't read it. Technological shifts are about to irreversibly alter the way humanity exists, and Kevin gives a brilliant and informative glimpse into that coming world. Highly recommend.

22 people found this helpful

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Interesting but not Arresting

The concept of the book is solid. And it is written well. I got the impression that the author might have been stretching for material as opposed to stretching to get to all the material. This book attempts to bring into focus trends, not technologies. I wish the author had done it with fewer words. But I also cannot deny that the lengths he went to to make the case for the trends he argues for is comprehensive and compelling.

19 people found this helpful

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You should set your expectations right

Kevin Kelly describes his meeting with inventor of hypertext Ted Nelson. He talks about Nelson's convoluted sketches of hypertext and with even some irony telling how nobody even dreamed off what will it become and what will be driving force of the web.

I think that this book should be treated the same... Kevin Kelly gives some convoluted sketches of future development and hypotheses on directions and driving forces and try to imagine how all that will look like but most probably from distance of 20-30 years we will look at those hypothesis and say wow that was a wild guess and it was so wrong but still there was something.

Just for the sake that there might be something I give 5 stars, performance is also excellent but overall still 4 stars for the frustrations of oversimplifying some things pr omitting important moments.

17 people found this helpful

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Like listening to one long list after another

There were several interesting ideas in the book. However, I was expecting more of a Malcolm Gladwell type of writing and felt like I got one long list after another of where screens will exist in the future as an example.

17 people found this helpful

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Worth it's weight in gold

Has tons of very interesting and incredibly useful information! It's like if somebody in early 90's wrote a book, about how powerful e-commerce, social networks, user generated videos, crowdfunding, etc. are going to be.

16 people found this helpful

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meh

Repetitious and a bit banal. listen to his interviews...engaging guy, but book while interesting was a bit lacking.

6 people found this helpful

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Will reshape your thinking about technology

The technological trends are: becoming, cognifying, flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, interacting, tracking, questioning, and beginning. It's hard to grasp these concepts described with verbs but the book contains a lot of good information. For example, becoming is about ever-changing technologies. The apps, smartphones, etc. that we used (or that didn't even exist) several years ago are not the same ones that we are using now. We are constantly becoming new users... getting familiar with the new features and changes to get back to the state of being a proficient user again. Cognifying could be better described as artificial intelligence. Flowing is about product evolution. We used to think of music in physical terms, like an album or CD. But now music could be digital downloads or a subscription to Spotify. Products are flowing from a fixed state (like hardcopy books, where all copies are exactly the same) to a fluid state (like eBooks, which can be customized to the readers' preference on their devices and corrected through updates). This book will reframe your paradigm of what exactly is the product or service. For example, do we want a car or do we really want a transportation service (like Uber or Lyft)?

5 people found this helpful

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  • Daft Monk
  • 08-22-17

Unimaginative and unrelentingly tedious

The future, told at great length as seen through the narrow squint of a silicon valley tech optimist. Forget genetics, economics, cheap solar power, climate change, politics, developing countries, religion, poverty...
The book starts by saying that the future is complex and wildly unpredictable. Then predicts a future based on tech startups producing better faster computers, better AI and better screens and more joined up versions of what we have now.
It feels like one of those old General Electric World of Tomorrow films, but produced by Google or Facebook.
I don't know what the future holds, but I know it will be a lot more interesting than this.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Earley
  • 09-27-16

Good book but...

Short and sweet on this one. This book is very informative and contains a lot of info. But KK's writing style is very repetitive. He makes the same points over and over again. Didn't need to be over 11 hours.

Lots of good info, and he certainly knows what he's talking about, but I couldn't say that I enjoyed it... it was more like a workout. But maybe that's what he was going for.





4 people found this helpful

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  • S J Bennett
  • 05-28-19

Interesting recap of tech trends, blasé side-stepping of concerns

The narration is fine and the main points are worth a listen. These things seem genuinely inevitable so everyone should be aware of where they might lead. But the author’s decision to ignore (or embrace) real social drawbacks is infuriating. Just because something is inevitable doesn’t mean we have no choice about the speed of its takeover or how it is used.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ace Ken
  • 03-26-17

Bringing many thoughts into one place

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Would definitely recommend this book. It brings many concepts that a lot of futurists predict may happen and build on them so much so that they merge together.

What did you like best about this story?

Enables people to think about the future with a clearer mind, and come up with ideas so we can have an opportunity to play a major part in it.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was best to listen to this in stages so you can digest the writers thoughts one step at a time.

Any additional comments?

This book does not make clear timelines or invention predictions, such as a flying cars will be in use in 2040 ect. but touches on the atmosphere and culture of the future.

1 person found this helpful

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  • ChrisAdair
  • 03-18-17

Most Prophetic

There is a lot packed into this book
Its dense , and the narrator handled the content well, all be it in erring towards robotic away from melodic.

But it suited the nature of the book
There is a lot in here that really meets the title of the inevitable.

Its a great step forwards to understanding todays emerging connected society and big data and how and why things are changing as they are.
Well worth the time to listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jonny Manual
  • 12-07-16

Lots of lists?

Lots of interesting ideas and observations about the influence of technology on society, and how it will shape our future. I'd recommend anyone who reads this to also read "throwing rocks at the Google bus" by Douglas Rushkoff to dig deeper into the perils represented by the digital economy. Overall, I'm not sure if "The Inevitable" lends well to an audio book. I felt that large chunks of the content seemed to be listed items. Perhaps this wasn't helped by the robotic rendering from the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-15-16

Exceptional.

Thoroughly thought through review of current technology trends. Thought provoking, deep analysis and some good predictions given life by the short stories. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Clive Stoddart
  • 09-20-21

Not engaging

I may have purchased this book too late. There were very few revelations and the contents did not flow for me. I found myself re-reading several sections.

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  • Mark Lancaster
  • 09-07-21

Enlightening, inspiring and cautionary predictions

I like Kevin Kelly's enthusiasm for the digital changes on the horizon. I'm not sure that he included enough cautionary balance though. There will be vast swathes of the globe that will be left out of these changes and some that vehemently challenge them.

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  • Bruno de Castro Cardoso
  • 09-12-19

In the third chapter and I adore this book already

As a Sci fi writer this is fuel to the mind. Kelly really unravels much deeper and richer framework to think about the biotech revolution.

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  • Sarah Collins
  • 07-19-17

Good picture of future tech

The authors knowledge of future tech is ourstanding. However, his libertarian premis and viewpoint limits his understanding of potential applications to primarily market based applications which is exceptionally disappointing, especially as he mentions how surprised he is at how successful more socially oriented applications have been. Such surprises would suggest that he needs to re-evaluate his world view and delve deeper into social psychology to get a more detailed vision of how tech and humans will interact in the future.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-16-19

Lots of words

It would appear that the author and I are of a similar age. I doubt you would find two different types. I find his predictions to be believable and have a good basis for their possibility to occur. I do not take part in his world as I do not do facebook, twitter, instagram, locations tracing or sharing. This is not because of some fear but more because I just don't care about other people. The book is great to listen to as the reader has a lovely voice. It is worth buying as the view is comprehensive and well thought out.

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  • Enrico Massi
  • 03-16-19

It's inevitable - must read/listen

Excellent story and food for thought. Listened before read, must get it now. Do it.

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  • Ace
  • 09-07-18

Balanced, pragmatic, experienced-based perspective

Having been around, seen and done a lot, not many are better positioned to speak authoratively on the subject as he. With his sage-like views on technology he shows us that it is an unimaginably special time in human history and through his eyes, that we're on the cusp of a unbelievably bright and exciting future!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-18-18

mindblow

This book absolutely blew my monkey mind.
I highly recommend for all types of people

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  • AussiDavid
  • 12-15-17

Eye opening

I personally found chapters 2 and 11 resonate with me.

The book talks about the next 30 years and where we are going.

It’s very abstract as such there are no tangable actions one can and should do now. It’s a precursor to something tangable I believe.

I really liked how this books identifies and discusses novelty to commodity, any euntrepemures dream.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-08-17

An eye-opening peek into our future

An engaging and entertaining tale which extrapolates from where we are now to where we are headed. My conclusion: What a time to be alive!

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  • lindsay
  • 12-05-17

Not bad if you like babies

What did you like most about The Inevitable?

It's OK in a way that makes you doubt everything you have done for your child up to the point of listing to this book.
Now I have reservations about everything and have concerns that "lil baby" will grow up to be a fiend.

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  • Francis Murphy
  • 09-22-17

Thought I was a switched on futurist.

Kevin has just expanded my view exponentially and filled in gaps I didn't know existed. Great work ??

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  • Michael
  • 06-27-17

exceptional in every way! essential reading

essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the last 30 years and the next 100 years. Exceptionally well written with very erudite and exceptionally compelling

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