The news certainly doesn’t portray it this way, but every year the world becomes a better place, says Kevin Kelly. There is currently an imbalance in our optimism and pessimism levels, because we feel that things are catastrophic, despite most scientific evidence pointing the other direction. In this inspiring stream of thought, Kelly reminds us that society is constantly making progress, and that innovation is the direct result of optimism. Civilization is not a sweeping, heroic enterprise, he says, it’s a constant creep forward, and you only have to look behind you to see how far we’ve come. Kevin Kelly’s most recent book is The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future. This video is part of a collaborative series with the Hope & Optimism initiative, which supports interdisciplinary academic research into significant questions that remain under-explored. The three-year initiative will provide over $2 million for philosophers, philosophers of religion, and social scientists to generate original, high-quality, collaborative research on topics related to optimism and hopefulness. Discover the public components of the Hope & Optimism project, and how you can contribute, at http://www.hopeoptimism.com.
Transcript: So, my optimism is rooted in the fact that for almost over 200 years every year has gotten a little bit better when we look at the scientific evidence. And while it’s possible that next year everything could change, that everything could collapse and fall to the ground, statistically, probabilistically it won’t it will continue because 200 years has gone and next year it probably will continue.
In the long term, optimists decide the future. It’s the optimists who create all the things that are going to be most important in our lives, because it was optimists who built and invented all the things that are now important in our current lives. And I think people behave better when they’re optimistic. There’s absolutely a need to be critical and doubtful and skeptical and even pessimistic. Just like if you have a car you have to have brakes. You can’t have a car, no matter where it is, without brakes. But it’s the engine, the optimistic engine that keeps going and going and refuses to stop and is only concerned about going forward that really drives a car.
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New York Times Bestseller
From one of our leading technology thinkers and writers, a guide through the twelve technological imperatives that will shape the next thirty years and transform our lives
Much of what will happen in the next thirty 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.