by Kevin Kelly ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 12, 1998
A look at the future through a rose-tinted crystal computer monitor. It's amazing how one person's nightmare can make someone else giddy. Kelly, executive editor of Wired magazine, gleefully looks forward to a ""new global economic culture"" that is characterized, ""most important[ly], by a widespread reliance on economic values as the basis for making decisions in all walks of life."" Confronted with extensive alienation from noneconomic human life, Kelly advises us to accept the inevitable and join the electronically induced information age; only those failing to heed the siren call of cyberspace will encounter difficulties. Fortunately, Kelly provides ten rules to guide us on our way in the new economic order, essentially asserting, that the entire world will soon look like the current World Wide Web--where power multiplies through connections, maintaining the network is crucial, change is constant, and even successful innovations are quickly left behind--and insisting that we must accept risk and act boldly. The possibilities are tremendous, for we are ""about to witness an explosion of entities built on relationships and technology that will rival the early days of life on Earth in their variety."" It's also possible that Kelly is a bit overenthusiastic. He offers no guarantees, of course, but in the new alchemy of the future, it is abundance, not scarcity, that creates value, and concerns with, for instance, distribution of resources, equal opportunity, or the fate of individuals and nations not ""hardwired"" into this new reality are barely worth mentioning. For the doubters unable to block out thoughts about the victims of Kelly's future, however, there is some comfort. As he recognizes, predictions based on a selective reading of current trends are notoriously inaccurate, and all that differentiates his prognostications from failures of the past is that time has not yet proven him wrong. Let's hope it does so in a manner that discourages further soothsaying.
Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1998
Page Count: 176
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998
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