January 17, 2014

Kevin Kelly's "Cool Tools" compiles the most interesting gadgets, software, and books. Credit: aaronandjeanne / Flickr Creative Commons

Guest:

Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired magazine and author of "Cool Tools," says that robots are getting better and better at doing human jobs – and that's a good thing. 

Think back to the summers you spent in high school manning a cash register - we’ll bet it wasn’t exactly the most fulfilling work you’ve ever done. “Believe me, that is a job a robot should do. Nobody is really happy counting change,” says Kelly. “Anything that can be specified or measured in terms of productivity is really a job machines should do.”

With machines doing the repetitive, tedious work, Kelly says we’re free to focus on pursuits that robots can’t. In Kelly’s case, that meant compiling a database of the most interesting gadgets, books, and software he could find, which he aptly calls “Cool Tools.” The wildly popular website has just been released in book form for the first time.

Now, you may ask: what’s a tech guy like Kelly doing releasing an old-school print book? And what are people doing paying for a book full of information that’s available on the Internet for free?

In the age of the Internet, he says, information is free and abundant.  “What becomes expensive,” he says, “are things that can’t be copied very easily, and experience is one of those things that can’t be copied very well. You have to generate it in the moment.” So far, the success of “Cool Tools” suggests that the experience of poring over a giant book with glossy pages has proved to be an experience for which people are willing to pay.

robots, Cool Tools, Kevin Kelly, automation, Sci and Tech, Business, jobs, economy

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