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Kevin Kelly
Works at KK* — I write about the culture of technology. I'm an off-the-chart optimist. Currently Senior Maverick at Wired magazine. Publisher of the daily review of Cool Tools. Resident philosopher at the Technium.
Attended Westfield High School
Lives in Pacifica, CA
546,757 followers|19,802,613 views


Kevin Kelly

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Stewart Brand wrote a controversial piece you should read if you consider yourself an environmentalist, as many of us do.

Brand argues that using species extinction counts is not a useful tool. His argument is complex and subtle; I will oversimplify here to goad you to read it in full.

First, extinction is something we want to eliminate. Brand is spending his full time and considerable energies to reversing extinction. He and his wife Ryan Phelan have spearheaded a movement toward "de-extincting" a number of charismatic animals, such as the wooly mammoth. Eventually these techniques could be used widely.

But extinction is overrated as a way to measure ecological health. The science shows extinction rates are actually not as high as media headlines suggest, and sometimes not significant biologically (because they are sub-species). A focus on extinction also emphasizes dread rather than hope, and there is much to be hopeful about in conservation. Brand runs through some of the ways our increased knowledge and technology is repairing what really counts, which is species populations, species abundance, and robust ecosystems.

I am oversimplifying. Read the piece. Stewart writes masterfully and clear. We don't want species to go extinct, to die. But instead of merely avoiding death, we can do a lot more in making ecosystems healthy -- and Stewart suggests a few ways.
The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis
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Kevin Kelly

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I need some suggestions

Can you suggest a new media genre I have forgotten on this list? Something created in the last 20 years? A genre is a form that relies on a known stance of the audience.  What am I missing?

The 18 minute PowerPoint presentation 
LOL cats/doge
100+ hour serial dramas 
1-page blog post
Fan-Fic novels 
Remixed movie trailers
Game playthroughs
Tweet storm
Lyric music videos
Binge-watched TV or movie series
Image memes
Temporarily extended commercials
40-Hour Video Game
Redubs/ Bad Lipsyncs
3 Minute video clips
140-Character tweets
Live video streaming from mobile
Unboxing videos
Six word story
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Cover videos (such as for 'Gangnam Style') ?
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Trailer for coming-of-age story of a young girl caught between robots with souls and angels without bodies. Yes, that would be The SILVER CORD:
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cool idea
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The best intro I've seen to the tech of AI deep learning is this 2-part lecture by Jeff Dean from Google:
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Better picture of the Japan cover.
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Kevin Kelly

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Last week I got a letter from the IRS asking me if I had filed my tax return already, because  someone filed a 1040EZ for me and they were suspicious. As they should be since I haven't ever filed an EZ form for a refund and I usually delay filing till later in the year and I have not gotten a refund in decades.

Turns out refund fraud is widespread and growing, sort of easy money for small time criminals and hackers. In response IRS is now issuing PINs. But its still easy for stupid people to crack the system. Here is the Boston Globe on the problem:

Refund fraud

I'm bringing this up because "Robert Cringely," the ever amusing but often unreliable pundit, made a suggestion the other day I now find plausible. He thinks that the IRS suffered a massive, deep breach, maybe by organized crime, maybe by a nation state. He has no evidence, other than "that is where the money is."

I would have dismissed the idea until last week. But now seeing how primitive, archaic, and neanderthal IRS security is, I find it most believable that the IRS could have been hacked big time, not just in the refund arena. If they were they probably feel no obligation to announce it.

The only reason this is of any consequence is if it is part of a cyberwar conflict.  I'm not worried about much technological. The only techy thing I AM worried about is cyberwar -- because we have no rules for it. I would not be surprised to learn that foreign national hackers have broken into the IRS and stolen some dough. I have no evidence for this fantasy, other than how easy it probably is.
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+Alan McNeil the IRS has been deliberately understaffed as part of the supply-side trickle-downers' "drown in the bathtub" strategy.
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+Jason Silva ​ takes something I wrote and amplifies it, turning the dial to 11.  

"Access is more important than ownership" - Kevin Kelly
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Kevin Kelly

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Bob Dylan plus orchestra strings. I give him credit. He never stops trying.
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America's troubadour: his songs can be arranged in many different ways, and always sound fresh and unique: original, calypso, rock, pop, country, with orchestra, choir.
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Cool. Might be useful.
Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory are developing a new wearable device that turns the user’s thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad.

They envision that the technology could let users control wireless devices when their hands are full — answering the phone while cooking, for instance. It could also augment other interfaces, allowing someone texting on a cellphone, say, to toggle between symbol sets without interrupting his or her typing. Finally, it could enable subtle communication in circumstances that require it, such as sending a quick text to a child while attending an important meeting.

Know more:


#scitech   #wearable   #trackpad  
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+Emlyn O'Regan Doesn't feel any weirder than doing any other action using muscles I don't normally use continually for 30 seconds. Probably doesn't mix well with arthritis though. 
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Kevin Kelly

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The Gnarl has been piling up. I've been hiking around my neighborhood discovering all kinds of gnarl in my backyard, so to speak. Gnarl is everywhere!
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nice garden
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Kevin Kelly

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I have a soft spot for Japanese design. The cover of the Japanese edition of my book What Technology Wants, which is called The Technium in this edition, won an award for best design in Japan. It is a very elegant and minimal design -- very classic Japanese I'd say. You can't tell from this image, but the spine is day-glo orange. Nice contrast. Congratulations to Katsura Hattori the translator and chief architect of this edition. This is my favorite cover of this book.
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Imagine how powerful the US would be if it switched its funding for science and education with the military.
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+Ole Olson The "General Welfare" clause meant exactly that. It did not mean nor did it intend to give politicians the power to take money/ resources from one group and hand it over to another by using the police powers of the state. 

When I cited Amendment X, I was referring to the fact that the states and citizens of those states retain all powers not specifically delegated to the federal government. If the people of a state want to create a Social Security type system or public welfare, health care, etc., that is the purview of the individual  states, not the federal government. The states were supposed to be places where we could experiment with what worked best in both the public and private sectors. If something (retirement fund) were proven to work well for most states, we have the ability, through the Constitution to pass an amendment to give the federal government that power to nationalize said program.

Currently, we live in a post-Constitutional nation, and have a federal government leviathan that is institutionally corrupt, self-serving and completely out of control. Our current federal government model, whatever you want to call it, is unsustainable and will eventually lead to economic collapse in the future.
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Editor, Author, Techno-Philosopher
  • KK* — I write about the culture of technology. I'm an off-the-chart optimist. Currently Senior Maverick at Wired magazine. Publisher of the daily review of Cool Tools. Resident philosopher at the Technium.
    Editor, Author, Amateur Philosopher, 2000 - present
  • Wired
    Executive Editor, 1992 - 1999
  • Whole Earth Catalog
    Editor, Publisher, 1984 - 1990
  • Bell Helicopter Textron
    Editor, 1978 - 1979
  • University of Georgia
    Lab Assistant, 1982 - 1984
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Pacifica, CA
Westfield, NJ - Athens, GA; Otego, NY: Teheran, Iran
I am Senior Maverick at Wired magazine. I helped launch Wired in 1993, and served as its Executive Editor until January 1999. I am currently editor and publisher of the popular Cool Tools, True Film, and Street Use websites. From 1984-1990 I was publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Review, a journal of unorthodox technical news. I co-founded the ongoing Hackers' Conference, and was involved with the launch of the WELL, a pioneering online service started in 1985. I authored the best-selling "New Rules for the New Economy," and the classic book on decentralized emergent systems, "Out of Control." I co-founded the All Species Inventory, a taxonmic initiative to catalog all the species on Earth. I am also a charter board member of the Long Now Foundation which is building a monumental clock to tick for 10,000 years.
  • Westfield High School
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Other names
Kevin Kelly's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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