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Kevin Kelly says: "Sooner or later we ourselves become gods"
Material posted : Administrator Publication date: 03-05-2018

Futurist, an expert on cyberculture and "the chief Wrangler" of Wired magazine told RBC as Schering displace private property, why brands will pay people attention and what people stronger artificial intelligence.

"There is a revolution in the economy — products are transformed into services"

In one of his speeches at a TED conference, you cited interesting statistic: until the 1970s, the people almost did not use the word "technology". Why are we now so obsessed with this term?

— The power of technologies, their level of penetration in society, the opportunities they represent, have reached the point where we can no longer ignore their impact on our lives. While progress was slow, the generation of the sons lived about the same as their fathers. But today, change is constantly accelerating, and we have to study how they affect the world, and wonder what to do next?

— You are the author of the term "network economy". What does it mean?

This term marks an important fact: in the last 20 years almost all the most important innovations have led to an increase in the number of relations in society and in the world of electronic devices. Technology has given people the opportunity to communicate with each other in real time, simultaneously linking together the devices we use are computers, phones, and now even cars. Network system changes the working principles: a network of computers works differently than the computer itself. Similarly, the economy becomes another because of these network effects. For example, the greater the number of networks included a technology the more valuable it is: hammer is used for a very narrow circle of tasks, and phone for huge. The larger the network, the more valuable they are to users as it provides more opportunities. I am sure that in the near future there will be only one General social megaset, one network virtual reality and so on. To understand what is happening in the modern economy, we need to understand how network effects.

— The network economy differs from the industrial?

— Industrial economy engaged in the material things of life, networking is mostly intangible: ideas and information. It introduces completely new rules of the game. For example, in the physical world I can make and sell the product, but if the stock is over, I have nothing to sell. In the network economy everything is different: I have an idea, I'll sell it to you and now we both have the idea. I can transfer this idea to any number of people without having to make copies, each time saving the fact that I just sold. It's a completely different type of production, which implies a much more rapid growth. In this networked economy does not negate the industrial: as the country passed the stage of industrialization, it cannot move to the networked economy. This problem is now visible on the example of the many African countries that are far behind the world.

In the book "New rules for the new economy" you write that in the future sharing model, when a consumer rents a car, apartment, etc., will displace private property. Why do you think so?

— One of the discoveries of network Economics: if you can easily access your things anytime, anywhere and for little money, is in many respects more convenient than to own this thing. For example, you have a car. It is a solid care: need somewhere to Park, insure, repair, refuel, etc. But if everywhere there is a station car-share and you can take the car at any time you want, you free yourself from that long list of responsibilities. This important shift has already happened with digital products — people prefer not to store music, movies, books, games and use them online. Now this same shift affects material things — cars, bikes, scooters, accommodation for tourists. There is a revolution in the economy — products are transformed into services.

— But neither Uber nor carsharing company has not yet managed to become profitable.

Yet the mass consumer is not yet appreciated the benefits of sharing, companies that operate according to this model, are forced to keep low prices for their services. But when people realize how easy sharing, and the phenomenon becomes widespread, companies will raise prices and, as a consequence, will make a profit.

— You write that the network economy works on the principle of "having given": those who were able once to achieve success, you will be able quickly to repeat it. Does this mean that the gap in income between rich and poor will grow?

— Yes, in a networked economy, those who are successful now, tomorrow will become even more successful. Industrial economy obeys the law of diminishing returns (after certain values of the costs of production are rising faster than the income from its sale. — RBC), but the business is included in the broad network can increase revenue with relatively modest investments. Many people these words of mine afraid: you may think that everybody is not successful, it will be out of business. But in fact in the economy of the future, the number of ways that a person can achieve success will increase.

— Explain.

— Take the widespread fear that the artificial intelligence (AI) will be taken away from the people work. Yes, some professions will disappear, but the development of technology will create tens of thousands of new jobs. Everyone knows that artificial intelligence already defeats man in chess, but we must not forget that most strong chess players are not AI systems, and teams of AI and the people who created it and improve. This means that the development of AI will create a new profession. Similarly, the advent of the Internet, virtual reality will give rise to activities that did not previously exist, the trade in virtual items, the design of the avatars and users, etc.

Who is Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly (born 1952) is known as the futurist whose main theme is cibercultura. Only Kelly has released eight books on Russian language translated his best-selling book "Inevitable: 12 technology trends that are shaping our future", overseas well known for his book "Out of control: the new biology of machines, social systems and Economics" and "New rules for the new economy". In 1992, Kelly together with Louis Rossetto acted as the co-founder of Wired magazine, which still holds the position of Senior Maverick (can be translated as "chief Wrangler"). Kelly advises the authors of the movies about the future (for example, he assisted Steven Spielberg in the film "dissenting opinion"). On September 10-11, 2018 Kelly will be performing at the BBI Summit in Moscow Crocus City Hall.

"At least 90% of the cryptocurrency is a bubble"

— Can we distinguish prospective from the technology "bubble"? What do you think about the prospects of cryptocurrency?

— I would say that if a new phenomenon is attracting a rapid influx of money, it is almost certainly a "bubble". But where we see a slow influx of investment that occurs as people evaluate new opportunities — it could be some promising technology. Cryptocurrency is both. At least 90% of the cryptocurrency "bubble", an instrument of speculation. But the remaining 10% is the technology that can be useful, for example, be used for calculations.

— You write that in the economy of the future, the company will cease to strive to improve productivity. Why?

Yes, productivity is not what we should care companies. Any work task, the value of which is measured by productivity, can do the robot. If you want to make more units of a product or repetitive actions, then the person is not a competitor to the car. Really, the people are strong in tasks where productivity is low or cannot be measured. For example, science is a very counterproductive process: the path to any invention mainly consists of a mass of error and just luck in the end. Similarly unproductive art or life experience. Really valuable in the economy of the future will be the creation of entirely new products and technologies, not improving the existing ones. All that is amenable to scaling, sooner or later will do artificial intelligence.

— How business to develop strategy?

— Look on Amazon is one of the most customer-oriented company. The philosophy of its founder Jeff Bezos is to meet consumer: give the people what they want. The basis of many products that come up with companies that are ingenious ideas, but they are not based on the fact that we want people to: respond to user requests too slowly or just ignore them. And Amazon became a huge company because that has always offered people what they want.

— I noticed that the attitude of entrepreneurs in the last few years has changed. Previously, an entrepreneur was just a man who earns the money, now he want to see the new Prometheus, who do good for all mankind.

— Yes, you are right. Entrepreneurs have acquired to become heroic: people inspire and Elon Musk, and Tony stark from "Iron man", to whom he is like, and other businessmen-innovators. There are several reasons. First of all, Americans like it when someone challenges the establishment. We are accustomed to the fact that the heads of large corporations have themselves become part of the ruling elite, and in the face Mask and other technoprogressive suddenly we see the revolutionaries who want to change the status quo because of their moral beliefs and love for science. Another reason why entrepreneurs became heroes in the eyes of the people, — that people are tired of being employees, they want to be masters of their own life. Successful businessmen are those who have walked this road further than others. Finally, quick to make large as in our days can basically those who have a breakthrough idea. That's why all these Tony Starks (one of the most popular superhero comics. — RBC) is so popular today.

— How will change in the near future the advertising industry?

— In a world where machines can create abundance of anything, the only thing that will be in short supply is human attention. I think that soon the consumers will pay for something that they pay attention to food companies. The attention alone would be more valuable than the interest of others. We are already seeing the beginning of this process companies attract advertising "opinion leaders", with the help of big data and rank users according to influence on other people. Companies are starting to use the maximum sighting target messages towards the mass of people, but to a specific individual. In fact, they are embracing the fact that not so long ago started to be applied for political purposes (referring to the use in the presidential campaign of Donald trump of data on US citizens collected Cambridge Analytics. — RBC). But it will be a bumpy road — too many moral issues raised.

"If we can't help with the fact that the government is watching us, we should have the right to follow him"

— How will the world look like in the near future, in your opinion?

— In the next 30-50 years major changes will not happen in the material world around us. Man has changed the environment to fit his needs. For example, the city even 100 years from now will look about the same as today — well, except that will be even larger and higher. The main changes will be invisible to the naked eye, they occur in how we communicate, how we work, how we spend your time. I often ask myself: what part technology has to be universal, and which are national? Whether living in Moscow or Saint Petersburg in 100 years the same as in new York? The answer would probably be: basic needs, which are at the lower levels of Maslow's pyramid — shelter, food, clothing — will be available in all countries. From this point of view, almost the whole world will be the same. But to get what is on top of the pyramid — self-realization, to satisfy their aesthetic and intellectual needs, will vary depending on the country where the person lives.

— Does this mean that technological and intellectual centers of the world will remain the US and Western Europe?

— No, I think that the intellectual center of the world is moving to Asia — primarily China and India. This is simply because of the difference in population. In the United States live at least 350 million people in India and China in the amount of approximately 3.5 billion This means that there are ten times more smart people than in the US. And in the future a greater role to play in the city, not the country. Now the policy of the city authorities — what infrastructure is in the city, how the people there live comfortably is more important to their residents than the national policies of the countries in which these cities are located. Studies have shown that the level of happiness and human capabilities could have a greater vary in the average cities of the same country than between different countries.

— And how to change global policy?

Now most people don't want to have a world government. But I am sure that we will change their opinion about it in the next 30 years. To solve global problems, we definitely need a supranational body that has more powers than the UN. The international system that we have now, does not take into account the interests of all peoples, and this, incidentally, is one of the main reasons why people are frightened by the idea of a world government — they think that it certainly will serve the interests of only a small circle of powers. Besides it's not too clear how to ensure truly democratic representation for 7 billion people. But nobody said that the transition to a global policy that will satisfy everyone, will be painless. Failed one system — let's try others.

In recent years, many countries are trying to control the Internet. For example, Russia has now blocked the popular messaging app Telegram, a few years ago we blocked LinkedIn. Where all this will lead?

— Social networks as a phenomenon is still very young. Still they existed on the rights of a compromise between responsible civic behavior (this includes, for example, the rejection of the proliferation of fake news and unverified rumors) and freedom of speech. But the problem is that nobody knows where the limits should be between these two extremes. Now, many countries — the U.S., EU, China — tested different approaches to control over the Internet, but no answer how to do it correctly, no. Rather, different countries will go different ways.

— What are the dangers of the future?

— I am most concerned about cyberwarfare and cyber conflict. If before the hacking was the work of individual groups of hackers, now they are doing the entire state — the U.S., China, Russia, Iran, Israel. The main problem is that in cyber warfare the country has not developed any rules of the game. In a conventional war, for example, it is forbidden to use chemical weapons. And there are no restrictions — no one specifies what kind of damage hackers working for the national government can put the infrastructure of cities, where millions of people live. And we are in dire need of a supranational organization such rules are established.

— Now, many fear that the government starts to spy on us through our devices. Is this problem serious?

— Surveillance is inevitable, no matter how much we wanted to protect themselves from it. In China, the state already keeps track of many aspects of citizens ' lives. U.S. surveillance has not yet reached serious proportions, unless of course you are not a public person. But if there's nothing we can do about the fact that the government is watching us, we in turn, should have the right to follow him. All that the government does should be transparent — and if it collects on us, we need to know what it gathers and for what purposes.

— You are a Christian. It's not uncommon for visionary: most of them are atheists or agnostics. What do you think, even in the world of high technology will be a place for God?

— A question that is difficult to answer in a nutshell. I think the answer is "Yes". The idea of God becomes the more necessary that sooner or later we ourselves become gods: learn how to create artificial life — robots that think and even have consciousness. As soon as we become creators of artificial beings, philosophers begin to wonder about the Creator more often — to understand how to become more merciful gods.

Ilya Nosyrev, Nikolay Grishin


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