Kevin Kelly


American Digital Visionary, Publisher of the Whole Earth Review, Founding Executive Editor of WIRED, Founder of Visionary Nonprofits, Writer

Author Quotes

The organization and the environment are in concert.

There is nothing to be found in a beehive that is not submerged in a bee. And yet you can search a bee forever with cyclotron and fluoroscope, and you will never find a hive.

We want a machine that is constantly remaking itself.

The problem with trying to measure productivity is that it measures only how well people can do the wrong jobs. Any job that can be measured for productivity probably should be eliminated from the list of jobs that people do.

There's nothing more addictive than being a god.

?What color is a chameleon placed on a mirror? ... The chameleon responding to its own shifting image is an apt analog of the human world of fashion. Taken as a whole, what are fads but the response of a hive mind to its own reflection? In a 21st-century society wired into instantaneous networks, marketing is the mirror; the collective consumer is the chameleon.

The proper response to a lousy idea is not to stop thinking. It is to come up with a better idea.

This is actually a very important principle that science is learning about large systems like evolution and that futurists are learning about anticipating human society: just because a future scenario is plausible doesn't mean we can get there from here.

What humans can't engineer, evolution can.

The quickest route to describing a seed's output is to sprout it.

To achieve sustainable innovation you need to seek persistent disequilibrium. To seek persistent disequilibrium means that one must chase after disruption without succumbing to it, or retreating from it.

What little time left is in this century is rehearsal time for the chief psychological chore of the 21st century: letting go, with dignity.

The story of automation is the story of a one-way shift from human control to automatic control.

To err is human; to manage error is system.

When a system is in turbulence, the turbulence is not just out there in the environment, but is a part of the organization or organism that you are looking at.

The surest way to smartness is through massive dumbness.

To maximize innovation, maximize the fringes.

When everything happens at once, wide and fast moving problems simply route around any central authority. Therefore overall governance must arise from the most humble interdependent acts done locally in parallel, and not from a central command.

The most certain thing you can say about the environment tomorrow is that it probably is going to be just like today, for the most part.

The system continually has to make this choice: it can either continue to exploit a known process and make it more productive, or it can explore a new process at the cost of being less efficient.

To prosper, feed the web first.

When information is plentiful, peers take over.

The most interesting thing about change in the environment is that for the most part the environment isn't changing.

The tricks of the intangible trade will become the tricks of your trade.

Urbanization is the advent of edge species.

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American Digital Visionary, Publisher of the Whole Earth Review, Founding Executive Editor of WIRED, Founder of Visionary Nonprofits, Writer