Kevin Kelly, co-founder of WIRED and renowned futurist, has toured Asia for over half a century. Not only has he witnessed its changing culture and landscape, but he’s also captured his experience in 9000 photographs, later compiled into 1000 pages of his most recent book, Vanishing Asia.
Kevin set off for Asia in 1972 with a film camera. With no remote idea about Asia or its culture, he started to document the traditions that eventually seemed “disappearing even from first sight”. He put together the results from his privileged journey (as he describes it) in his three-volume book, which speaks everything traditional about Turkey in the West to Japan in the East.
Kevin revisits us on the podcast to share the process that created the book, how different countries choose to adapt to the changes that have come over in the last 50 years, and how the pandemic has changed the world. History, Kevin explains, helps you understand the momentum, repeating patterns, and cultural dynamics of any place. The farther you want to look into the future, the deeper you’ll want to dig into the past.
Kevin’s current title at Wired is “Senior Maverick,” a designation I’m sure you will agree is appropriate.
The co-founder of WIRED and renowned futurist, @kevin2kelly, has just completed a 50-year project - he joins #Brainfluence to explain. #travel Click To Tweet
Key Highlights for Kevin Kelly
● Kevin shares how he’s perfectly happy to leave the past behind him, but how he doesn’t want to forget about it. He explains that past practices can still carry deep meaning and significance in our lives.
● Starting his journey 50 years ago, Kevin’s original companion was his film camera – which had limitations. He notes that today a digital camera that can take as many photographs in five minutes as in a year with film.
● Thinking differently is the chief engine of innovation today. In a society that’s always connected through social media, it’s often difficult to think differently.
● Kevin talks about the dangers he underwent during his time in Asia. He recollects that although the majority of it was safe, bus travels in mountain regions were more than just idle threats.
Kevin Kelly Quotes
'It's very important that we have different ideas and think differently. In the new economy, thinking differently, having different ideas, differences, is the chief engine of #innovation and creation and wealth' - @kevin2kelly Click To Tweet
“I had the privilege of getting on a time machine and being transported back to medieval times.”
“I think there’s a cost to all those old ways of doing things that may not be worth paying now. And so I’m perfectly happy to have them behind us, it’s just that I don’t want us to forget about them.”
“There’s more diversity within Asia than there is between Asia and, say, the West.”
“I think it’s very important that we have different ideas and think differently. In the new economy, thinking differently, having different ideas, differences, is the chief engine of innovation and creation and wealth.”
Resources for Kevin Kelly
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Full Episode Transcript – Kevin Kelly’s 50 Year Project