Selected quotes from Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly is one of my favorite authors on technology and I have quoted various parts of his book ‘The Inevitable’ in this blog.

Here are some of his quotes and statements I have collected while reading his books and thought that it might be interesting for you too.

Kevin Kelly Quotation Collection


Kevin Kelly Quotes

Summarizing the memetics and some other similar ideas:

Humans are the reproductive organs of technology.

On emergence and evolution:

A brain is a society of very small, simple modules that cannot be said to be thinking, that are not smart in themselves. But when you have a network of them together, out of that arises a kind of smartness.

On what technology wants:

Extrapolated, technology wants what life wants:
Increasing efficiency
Increasing opportunity
Increasing emergence
Increasing complexity
Increasing diversity
Increasing specialization
Increasing ubiquity
Increasing freedom
Increasing mutualism
Increasing beauty
Increasing sentience
Increasing structure
Increasing evolvability

On how the technology has helped us to know ourselves more than before:

Technological advances could allow us to see more clearly into our own lives.

We are reaching deep within ourselves to adjust the master knob.

On the emergence of a global brain (or machine):

All these computers, all these handhelds, all these cell phones, all these laptops, all these servers – what we’re getting out of all these connections is we’re getting one machine. … We’re constructing a single, global machine.

A mechanical/evolutionary view of the world:

Clearly, we are self-made. We are the first technology. We are part inventor and part the invented

Future is not so far from now:

The very long tail of the future is already here.

Life is just a complicated technology; technology is just a simplified form of life:

Life is the ultimate technology. Machine technology is a temporary surrogate for life technology. As we improve our machines they will become more organic, more biological, more like life, because life is the best technology for living.

Noting the attention economy:

The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention.

Describing the mission of every system (restatement of survival goal):

Each system is trying to anticipate change in the environment.

A simple definition of singularity:

Singularity is the point at which “all the change in the last million years will be superseded by the change in the next five minutes.”

Evolution as a dynamic – constrained process: 

When you are embodied in a location, in a physical plant, in a set of people, and in a common history, that constrains your evolution and your ability to evolve in certain directions.

One of his few motivational statements:

In the context of your dreams, knowledge will always give you enough reasons not to act. Act regardless and execute exceptionally.

On the distributed intelligence:

And they discovered something very interesting: when it comes to walking, most of the ant’s thinking and decision-making is not in its brain at all. It’s distributed. It’s in its legs.

On evolution and the meaning:

Evolution doesn’t care about what makes sense; it cares about what works

Further quotes and excerpts

Here you can find a list of some other quotes and excerpts from his works: