Kevin Kelly of Wired (and so much more) – The Modernist Society Ep. 12

Kevin Kelly (Photo: Christopher Michel)

We talk with Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired magazine, former publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Catalogs, and co-founder of the Hackers’ Conference. Instead of talking to Kevin about AI, AR, or any of the other technological forces that are shaping our future, we take him back to 1988 to revisit one of his lesser-known books: Signal: Communications Tools for the Information Age. It’s a big, paperback, counter cultural handbook on self-empowerment, DIY education, and harnessing technology at a time when normal people did not know what the internet was. 

We also talk to Kevin about his first trip overseas in 1972, and how it led to him bouncing around Asia for decades, taking the photographs which are collected in his forthcoming book, Vanishing Asia

Finally, we ask Kevin–well known for being an optimist–to help us find the silver lining in the coronavirus pandemic.

LISTEN to The Modernist Society now via your favorite podcast provider (and don’t forget to subscribe):

The Modernist Society on Apple Podcasts
TheModernist Society on Spotify
The Modernist Society on Google Podcasts
The Modernist Society on Stitcher

Here for your convenience, and in no particular order, are links to some of the things we talked about:


The AI Cargo Cult

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

AR / Augmented Reality / The Mirrorworld

Signal: Communications Tools for the Information Age

68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World

Hackers’ Conference

Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities

1000 True Fans

The Well

Richard Kadrey

Fred Turner / From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism

Vanishing Asia

Follow Kevin Kelly:
Technium blog
Weekly newsletter Recomendo
Weekly podcast about the four favorite tools of remarkable people
Daily Cool Tools website

Follow The Modernist:

Follow The Modernist Society hosts on Twitter:
Jason Mojica
Eric Ottens