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The Inevitable book summary

The Inevitable book cover


  • Everything is in flux
  • Technology is constantly changing through small, progressive updates, meaning we are constantly newbies
  • Humans are great at being discontented - finding new itches to scratch
  • The cycles of obsolescence are becoming shorter
  • The internet has grown very quickly but we are still in its infancy
  • There is still huge opportunities with the web increasingly infiltrating our physical world with unimagined inventions to come
  • We are all becoming - make something today


  • AI will be ubiquitous
  • Cloud based AI will allow everyone to access AI, but due to network effects, this cloud AI will be controlled by few
  • The bulk of AI will be special purpose, rather than general purpose intelligence of humans. This is a benefit - the optimal combo will be human intelligence + AI.
  • Human intelligence is just one type of mind. AI will allow us to develop different types of intelligence which will allow us to solve complex, harder problems, of a different class
  • AI will force us to define what it means to be human
  • Robots will continue taking more and more human jobs. Our job is to let them take over, and find new tasks that expands us as humans.
  • The people who will win are those who optimise the process of working with bots and machines


  • Anything that can be copied, and touches the internet, will be copied multiple times
  • Solid products will be sold as fluid services
  • The third age of computing uses flows and streams as units. We have moved from batch mode to daily and real time
  • Streams of info comes from the cloud
  • When copies become cheap to produce, they are effectively free. You therefore need to sell things that cannot be copied:
    • Immediacy
    • Personalisation
    • Interpretation
    • Authenticity
    • Accessibility
    • Embodiment
    • Patronage
    • Discoverability
  • This liquidity brings a new ease in creation - democratisation of arts. This will bring much more choice and new markets.
  • Fixity vs. fluidity. Fixities will become flows e.g. vehicles, land, medicine, or at least acquire a digital element.
  • There are 4 stages of flowing:
    1. Fixed. Rare.
    2. Free. Ubiquitous.
    3. Flowing. Sharing, unbundling into parts.
    4. Opening. Becoming. Streams of ready pieces creating new products.


  • We will do more screening, then reading, where text is moving, interspersed with diagrams, animations, video etc.
  • Books are the first of many media to be screened. It will make reading increasingly social, while linking all written text ever written to collectively join all of human knowledge - a universal library of interconnected words and ideas
  • This will redefine the current concept of a "book"


  • 5 tech trends moving us from ownership to accessing:
    1. Dematerialisation. Movement from products to services as everything becomes digitised.
    2. Real time, on-demand. We want instant.
    3. Decentralisation. As more of our world is decentralised (so no one owns any one thing).
    4. Platform synergy. Multi-sided platforms like Facebook and Apple enable an ecosystem to thrive in a mixture of cooperation and competition. Sharing is the default.
    5. Clouds. The cloud is hyperlinked data. The reason to use the cloud is to share data deeply. For decentralised data, the biggest clouds should merge into one cloud. There will be increasing erosion in the boundary between 'I' and 'The cloud'.


  • We now operate in a sharing economy, linked virtually. There is evidence online of:
    1. Sharing
    2. Cooperating
    3. Collaborating
    4. Collectivism
  • The internet has allowed us to harness the power of sharing, which has huge potential
  • As we move from centralisation to decentralised heads, there is constant tension between bottom-up (collective intelligence of the masses) vs. top-down editorial
  • The sharing economy has allowed niches to thrive and audiences / fans to directly fund / support creators
  • In the future, anything that can be shared, will be shared, and it will be the surest way to increase its collective appeal


  • The only thing increase in cost are human experiences which cannot be commoditised. We'll use technology to create commodities and we'll make experience to avoid becoming commodities.
  • This puts pressure on us to know who we are and what we want. This in turn allows filters to be smarter and more personalised.


  • The fungibility and fluidity of bits allows new forms of media to morph, resulting in remixing
  • Cheap and universal tools of creation are reducing the effort needed to create.
  • Media is becoming increasingly 'fundable' and 'rewindable'. This has happened with text, it will happen with moving images and other media.
  • With the increase rise of remixing, we will need to rethink traditional notions of property and ownership


  • We are increasingly equipping our devices with eyes, ears and motion so we can interact with them. In the future, if something doesn't interact, it will be considered broken.
  • The expansion of interaction will be in 3 dimensions:
    1. More sensors/senses e.g. x-ray, smell, heat detection
    2. More intimacy - always on, everywhere
    3. More immersion - VR and AR. Tech becomes a second skin.
  • As VR matures, we will regard fake worlds as real. How then do we determine how real someone online is? It will be determined by you - VR will track everything unique to you as a whole.


  • It feels like we will move towards ubiquitous tracking / surveillance
  • As a society, we need to decide on the type of tracking we want. On a scale, there is personal and transparent on one end, and private and generic on the other. When gives us a choice, humans overwhelmingly choose vanity over privacy.
  • Humans evolved in tribes / clans with constant co-monitoring - co-vaillance as the natural state. If we are to continue tracking everything and one another, as long as it is equitable and symmetrical, it can feel comfortable.


  • 'Impossible' things are happening more and more due to the emergence of new level organisation that didn't exist before
  • Improbable is the new normal - the internet focused the improbable and makes it accessible. This makes us want to access the best of everything. It also exposes us to the greatest range of human experience. However, we are no longer satisfied by the ordinary.
  • It is also harder to separate fact from fiction
  • Our knowledge is expanding exponentially, but so are the number of questions we are asking. Science is a method that chiefly expands our ignorance rather than our knowledge.
  • In the future, answers will become cheap and ubiquitous. The quest then, will be the finding of the perfect question, one that generates new fields, industries, brands and possibilities.


  • This is the time when humans first linked themselves together into a very large thing.
  • We are at the beginning of a phase transition, with new cultural forces like sharing, accessing, tracking, that will dominate our lives

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