Recommended Watch: Will civilization collapse? | WIRED’s Kevin Kelly (
WIRED founder Kevin Kelly explains why progress often looks like dystopia to the untrained eye.

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Imagine that tomorrow, the world magically got 1% better. Nobody would notice. But if the world got 1% better every year, the "compounding" effect would be very noticeable — in the same way that compounding grows a bank account.

When technology solves a problem, it creates new problems. The solution is not less technology but better technology.

Kevin Kelly of WIRED magazine calls this incremental progress toward a better world "protopia." Protopia is a direction, not a destiny.


This video is part of The Progress Issue, a Big Think and Freethink special collaboration.

In this inaugural special issue we set out to explore progress — how it happens, how we nurture it and how we stifle it, and what changes are required in how we approach our most serious problems to ensure greater and more equitable progress for all.

It’s time for a return to optimism.


About Kevin Kelly
Kevin Kelly is Senior Maverick at WIRED magazine. He co-founded WIRED in 1993, and served as its Executive Editor for its first seven years. His newest book is The Inevitable, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He is founder of the popular Cool Tools website, which has been reviewing tools daily for 20 years. From 1984-1990 Kelly was publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Review, a subscriber-supported journal of unorthodox conceptual news. He co-founded the ongoing Hackers’ Conference, and was involved with the launch of the WELL, a pioneering online service started in 1985. Other books by Kelly include 1) Out of Control, the 1994 classic book on decentralized emergent systems, 2) The Silver Cord, a graphic novel about robots and angels, 3) What Technology Wants, a robust theory of technology, and 4) Vanishing Asia, his 50-year project to photograph the disappearing cultures of Asia. He is currently co-chair of The Long Now Foundation, which is building a clock in a mountain that will tick for 10,000 years.


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