Kevin Kelly first appeared on this show back in 2016 to talk about his bestselling book, “The Inevitable”, which was a review of the key tech trends that were shaping our lives. Today, almost seven years later, I’ve been struck by how prescient a number of his predictions turned out to be back then, in particular around artificial intelligence, which we talk about in this episode.
Kevin’s latest book is called Excellent Advice for Living: Wisdom I Wish I'd Known Earlier. This is a curated selection of aphorisms, which guide how Kevin lives his life, and which he was encouraged by his family to put together several years ago. It's a mixture of very practical, as well as quite counterintuitive, but nevertheless fascinating advice for parents, for children, and for grandparents. There are echoes of Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett, in emphasizing the importance of thinking long term, of deferred gratification, or of compounding, but there are also different ways of looking at the world, drawing from the work from James P. Carse and his “Finite and Infinite Games,” that guide Kevin and how he approaches things.
Kevin has done a huge amount of travel and he shares with us how he thinks about traveling, and why he sees traveling as such an important activity for the youth to pursue. Towards the end, we talked about what his current projects and his future projects are, and he's embarking on a 100-year project, being enormously optimistic and positive about the future.
What We Cover:
08:26 - Three types of travel and Kevin’s approach to traveling 19:49 - The idea of finite and infinite games and the parts of our society and systems that can be perceived as infinite games
23:24 - The paradox of generosity and why it works even if it seems counterintuitive in today’s world
30:19 - The value of rites of passage for the youth and how to recreate them in the modern Western society
34:03 - Where we are going next with the advancement of artificial intelligence
45:43 - Kevin’s 100-year project and why he is optimistic about the future
Key Learnings and Takeaways:
Travel is essential for growth - encountering the other and learning is one of the most powerful and transformative experiences for the youth that should be facilitated and subsidized on a national level The foundational paradox of our human societal collective existence is that the more you give, the more you get, that you cannot deplete your generosity and kindness.
The thrilling adventure that the society is headed into right now is trying to elevate the AI's so that they're better than humans, even though we currently don't have a consensus on what ethics and morality mean that we could program into AI.
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
Excellent Advice for Living: Wisdom I Wish I’d Known Earlier by Kevin Kelly
The Inevitable and other books by Kevin Kelly https://kk.org/books
Connect with Kevin Kelly on social media @Kevin2Kelly
Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse
Kevin Kelly: The Formula for the Next 10,000 Startups, Failing Forward and Becoming a Teaching Organization on OutsideVoices
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