Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists

Kevin Kelly

Moving hay on a lake high in a snow-covered Himalayan valley of Kashmir, from Vanishing Asia


YEAR 2023

I’ve been jotting down bits of advice I wished I had known earlier in my life, and then sharing them with my children. Each one is like a tweet — a wisdom tweet. This year I have put 450 of them into a pocket-sized book, called Excellent Advice for Living. It will be released on May 2. You can order on Amazon. It makes a great gift for a graduating student.

I am extremely optimistic about the future – despite reading the news. I give my reasons why we should be optimistic in this new 12-minute TED talk. I also outline other reasons to be optimistic and why I think the next two decades will be a global boom in this short essay.

Last year I relied on my 1,000 true fans to fund a huge, oversized, 1,000-page celebration of old Asia. This 3-volume book set is titled Vanishing Asia, and it records 9,000 photographs of the festivals, costumes, architecture, and rituals that are disappearing in Asia. It’s like no other book that has ever been printed. It’s now available on Amazon.

My title for Wired is Senior Maverick, a magazine I helped co-found 29 years ago. I write one article for Wired per year now. My most recent article concerns the rapidly emerging world of AI image generators, and what they will mean for us. As I detail in my article Picture Limitless Creativity, they are truly creative.

I frequently give presentations and interviews about my life and work and the consequences of technology.


Video is the future of learning. Future of X is a series of 36 lectures on the future that I produced on YouTube for China Mobile, where X equals anything from flying cars to genetic engineering. 

I write in order to think. I often begin thinking with a post written on my blog, The Technium. I cover technology and conceptual news, and I also post a weekly summary of the interesting things I read that week.

My most recent book, The Inevitable, was a New York Times bestseller, and is available in multiple languages.

Cool Tools

Five years ago I started a free weekly newsletter, called Recomendo, which delivers 6 very short recommendations each week on Sunday morning. Over 53,000 subscribers get recommendations of great tools, fabulous apps, cool stuff we are watching or listening to, and amazing tips.  It has one of the highest open rates of any newsletter in the world.

About 20 years ago I launched the website Cool Tools, to review one tool daily. It’s still going strong with one fan review of a cool tool you didn’t know about every day.  Some years ago I collected the best tools into a large, oversized, 500-page Whole Earth Catalog-inspired book on paper.  The paper book is out of print (used copies can be found) but there is now a downloadable PDF version available.

Every week on the Cool Tools podcast I interview someone remarkable and ask them to share their favorite tools. Past episodes are available. We will be migrating to video soon.

TRY is a YouTube channel about how I make complicated projects, such as a toy bridge, or a flower press, or an ecosphere.


Throughout my life I have drawn and painted and photographed. For 50 years I photographed the vanishing cultures of Asia. The result of that passion is an oversized book entitled Vanishing Asia that records images of uncommon scenes from 35 Asian countries, between Turkey and Japan. I compiled a couple of short videos from the same journeys as an “ode to otherness.” Vanishing Asia is a sequel to an earlier smaller version of my travels called Asia Grace. That book is out of print, but its old website provides a glimpse of my photography from those days.

For the past 12 months I gave myself the assignment to create one piece of art per day. I mostly draw on an iPad, but also sometimes make sculptures, collages, or other physical artifacts. I post everything I make on Instagram, Twitter, or these archives.

For a long while I posted my own reviews of the best documentaries I watched. Although I have not updated the site in a while, my previous picks of the best non-fiction films to watch are gathered on my site True Films. I also made a book of the best reviews. 

I love visual inspirations and have recommended the best visual reference books I have come across on a site called Wink. Here we review “books that belong on paper.”  Twenty years ago, I had the idea to ask people to draw a map of the internet as they used it. The internet was a new idea to most folks at the time. I collected the best maps at my Internet Mapping Project.

With a group of artists from Pixar and ILM, I co-created a huge graphic novel about angels and robots, astral travel, and the other realms of celestial beings connected by quantum intelligence. It’s awesome. The two volumes are printed as one, oversized book, The Silver Cord. 


Not everything works. I start a lot of projects that grow slowly, or else have been retired.  But sometimes old dormant ideas resurface more useful than ever, so I leave these quiet projects up.

For a while I ran a blog, Street Use, about the ingenuity of people in repurposing technology and ways they made DIY tech. I also collected a long series of graphs forecasting the future for different industries and subjects. Extrapolations was assembled to assist me in making a larger forecast of a desirable future, a project-in-process called Protopia. I was infatuated with digital publishing about 10 years ago when such information was scarce, so I published a blog called Screen Publishing as a clearing house for best practices in e-publishing. It is inactive now, although the info might still be useful.

How AI can bring on a second Industrial Revolution at TED Summit