Interview | Kevin Kelly: Blockchain is a great tool, but it doesn't necessarily change the world

I think the blockchain is overhyped, and if you take the virtual currency off, many people are not interested.

In addition, the blockchain is actually very boring. Just like water plumping, we need water pipes, which is an infrastructure. However, most people have the most contact with a faucet of water, and not many people will pay attention to the water pipes behind them.

Humans always want to predict the future, which makes Kevin Kelly famous.

The book "Out of Control" was published in 1994, but it predicts the concept of heat after many years, such as cloud computing, Internet of Things, virtual reality, collaboration, symbiosis, online communities, and network economy. This prophetic work has allowed Kevin Kelly to gain numerous fans in China, where technology is growing rapidly.

On May 27th, the high-end dialogue on the theme of “blockchain – the cornerstone of digital civilization” was held at the Guiyang International Ecological Conference Center. As one of the highlights of the Expo, the blockchain section was hosted by the China International Big Data Expo Organizing Committee, jointly hosted by the Central Radio and Television Headquarters Financial Channel, hosted by China Information and Communication Research Institute, co-organized by Taier Yingfu, Odaily Planet Daily Exclusive media coverage.

Kevin Kelly, author of the best-selling book "Out of Control" and "Inevitable", former editor of Wired Magazine was invited to attend the high-end dialogue on the blockchain. Before the meeting, the Odaily Planet Daily made an exclusive interview with Kevin Kelly.

Asked about the most recent issues of concern, Kevin Kelly expressed his concerns about the future of cyber war. "Network conflicts are difficult to verify, opaque, and humans have not reached a consensus on their behavioral boundaries." This can have very serious consequences. He believes that the human world should work together to develop a consensus for the cyber world to prevent it.

What is next? Predicting the future has become a expectation for Kevin Kelly. He said he believes that the next generation platform after smartphones is the mirror world.

When it comes to blockchain, his attitude is slightly conservative: "The blockchain is overheated. The change brought about by this technology is not a revolutionary, but an evolutionary."

Finally, he gave Chinese technology practitioners a piece of advice: play with technology, not technology to make money, so that you can know what technology wants.

The following is the full text of the interview, edited by Odaily Planet Daily:

A consensus should be established for network behavior

Odaily Planet Daily: Hello, Mr. Kevin Kelly, you have a unique perspective on the relationship between technology, people and machines. What are the areas or topics that you are most concerned about in recent years?

Kevin Kelly: I think it is cyberwar, cyber conflict, between countries, between hackers, between anyone.

Such conflicts are difficult to verify (verify, here understood as the outside world can enter to see if someone is telling the truth), and it is difficult to become transparent; at the same time, there is no consensus on the world – what kind of Things are acceptable, what kind of things should not be accepted, and we don't know what the state should do and what not to do.

For example, a country destroys the banking system of another country or attacks the power system on a large scale. Are these acceptable? There is no consensus between countries.

This means that we have no relevant rules, which can have very serious consequences.

Odaily Planet Daily: Do you think the dangers mentioned so far have arisen?

Kevin Kelly: No. There are problems such as information leakage and financial loss, but no one has lost their lives. In contrast, today's events are still minor.

In order to avoid such a thing happening, the United States, China, Russia and other countries should formulate rules together, how to verify and what can be accepted.

This is something I am worried about.

The monopoly of the technology industry will not continue,

The new giant will be born in the AR field

Odaily Planet Daily: The gradual maturity of the technology industry has created many industry giants. We can observe that more and more data is in the hands of large companies, causing a certain degree of monopoly. Are you worried that it will have a negative impact?

Kevin Kelly: I don't worry, these monopolies are very short-lived, and new technologies such as artificial intelligence and mirror world will appear as new dominant players. Big companies think they will monopolize in the next era, but history tells us not.

Odaily Planet Daily: In recent years, the number of listed technology companies has gradually decreased. Some people think that the Internet or technology industry is entering middle age, and the development speed will slow down. What do you think of this view?

Kevin Kelly: The people who say this are blind. They don't see the latest, ongoing technological revolution. After the advent of Microsoft, there were similar remarks that the development of the technology industry has slowed down. But the Internet has also seen new players.

Odaily Planet Daily: In which field do you think the giant will appear in the future?

Kevin Kelly: spacial web, AR cloud, mirror world – this new field has many different names, and I call it the mirror world.

In the future, you can use the digital device to see the real world. This is different from the virtual world. It is the exact reproduction of the real world, but you see it in the lens of the glasses.

Future glasses will be an important device for presenting the world, and it may be connected to your mobile phone, which is the next generation platform device after the smartphone.

Odaily Planet Daily: It seems that the current technology is still waiting for a breakthrough?

Kevin Kelly: Yes, we are talking about it 10 years later.

Personal privacy is worth worrying, but technology will solve

Odaily Planet Daily: If such a world is coming, it is foreseeable that related devices will collect more personal and private user information. Today, many users believe that technology companies have mastered too much user data and violated user privacy. Some people think that this is the original sin of the Internet. What do you think?

Kevin Kelly: Privacy is really a big problem. However, I believe that there will be technical solutions in the future. For example, Google already has a technology called Federated Learning. A similar technology is called Differential Privacy (DP).

Through similar technologies, companies such as Google and Apple can leverage our data, but don't need to get the data, and the related calculations are done in the local device, so that privacy can be guaranteed.

To sum up, what I want to say is that we will not reduce the behavior of tracking users, but will track more, but there will be technology to reduce harm in the future.

Odaily Planet Daily: You have proposed the trend of human engineering and biological life, and the idea that people and machines coexist, human beings are no doubt inseparable from the machine. More than 20 years have passed. Now, what kind of new changes do you think of the relationship between people, machines and people in the future?

Kevin Kelly: In recent years, biotechnology has developed rapidly, and humans have used technology to repair or make up for their own shortcomings, such as vision, heart, etc. – Humans use technology to make themselves more and more "mechanical" . Neural network technology is also progressing at the same time.

In general, the future will continue to merge between people and machines, and this trend will continue.

Odaily Planet Daily: Some people worry that people are too dependent on technology to bring danger. What do you think of this view?

Kevin Kelly: In fact, human beings are getting longer and longer. This is not more dangerous, but safer. If you were born 200 years ago, by this age, your parents may not be there anymore. This is not what we think today.

The blockchain change is not revolutionary, it is gradual

Odaily Planet Daily: The forum you participated in today is about the blockchain. The blockchain is regarded by many as a transformation tool for production relations and collaboration. What do you think of such a technology?

Kevin Kelly: I think the blockchain is overhyped. If you take the virtual currency off, many people are not interested.

In addition, the blockchain is actually very boring. Just like water plumping, we need water pipes, which is an infrastructure. However, most people have the most contact with a faucet of water, and not many people will pay attention to the water pipes behind them.

It is a great tool, but it doesn't necessarily change the world.

Finally, the blockchain has not yet had an impact on real life, and many of its effects are still theoretical. It looks great, but we don't know what areas it can make a beneficial change.

I think the change brought by the blockchain is not a revolutionary, but an evolutionary.

Odaily Planet Daily: Are you involved in the development of the blockchain industry? For example, invest in any blockchain enterprise or cryptocurrency.

Kevin Kelly: No. Encrypted currency? of course not.

Play with technology, don't think about making money with technology

Odaily Planet Daily: What trends do you think are worth noting?

Kevin Kelly: Back to what I mentioned above, I predict that the next generation of platforms behind smartphones will be the mirror world and the augmented reality cloud.

Odaily Planet Daily: Since you have "foreseeed the future" to some extent, many readers also hope to gain this unique vision. How do you keep yourself sensitive to the technology world? Any suggestions for practitioners in the technology industry?

Kevin Kelly: I would recommend them to play with technology and waste time with technology instead of thinking about how to make money. As long as you play with technology, you will find out what technology wants. If you want to make money from the beginning, this is not mature.

Odaily Planet Daily: You mentioned that technology is alive and has what you want. Can you sum up what is the commonality of what it wants?

Kevin Kelly: I have used a lot of space in this book to explain it. It is hard to say a few summaries. However, in general, what technology wants is actually like what humans want. It wants to explore and want to be more diverse.

Text | Lu Xiaoming

Produced | Odaily Planet Daily (ID: o-daily)

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