This article refers to the founding executive editor of Wired magazine. For others by this name, see Kevin Kelly.
Kevin Kelly (born 1952) is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog. He has also been a writer, photographer, conservationist, and student of Asian and digital culture.
Among Kelly's personal involvements is a campaign to make a full inventory of all living species on earth, an effort also known as the Linnaean enterprise. The goal is to make an attempt at an "all species" web-based catalog in one generation (25 years).
Kelly's writings have appeared in the New York Times, Esquire, The Economist and other periodicals —in addition to the books he has authored and the magazines he either edited, founded, or helped to found.
When he was 27 Kevin Kelly was a freelance photo journalist, and got locked out of his hostel in Jerusalem due to being late for a curfew. He slept on the supposed spot where Jesus was crucified, and in the morning had a religious experience. He decided to live as if he only had six months left to live. He went and lived peacefully with his parents, anonymously gave away his money, visited his friends, and came back home to "die" on the night of Halloween.
In 1981, Kelly founded Walking Journal. He is a former editor of Whole Earth Review (see also CoEvolution Quarterly), Signal, and some of the later editions of the Whole Earth Catalog. With Whole Earth's founder, Stewart Brand, Kelly helped found the WELL, a highly regarded online community. He has been a director of the Point Foundation, which sponsored the first Hackers Conference in 1984 (before the word "hacker" had its current common, negative connotation).
In 1994, Wired Magazine, for which Kelly was executive director, won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. Kelly is now editor at large for the magazine. Partially due to his reputation as Wired's editor, he is noted as a participant and observer of "cyberculture".
Kelly's writing has appeared in many other national and international publications such as The New York Times, The Economist, Time, Harper's Magazine, Science, Veneer Magazine, GQ, and Esquire. His photographs have appeared in Life and other American national magazines.
Kelly's most notable book-length publication, Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World (1994), presents a view on the mechanisms of complex organization. The central theme of the book is that several fields of contemporary science and philosophy point in the same direction: intelligence is not organized in a centralized structure but much more like a bee-hive of small simple components. Kelly applies this view to bureaucratic organisations, intelligent computers, and to the human brain.
Andy and Larry Wachowski, writers/directors of the film The Matrix, required the principal actors of the film to read three books prior to the start of filming, including Kelly’s 1995 book Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World. The other two were Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard and Introducing Evolutionary Psychology by Dylan Evans.
Kelly can be seen in a series of interviews on The Roots of the Matrix disk in the 10-disk DVD The Ultimate Matrix Collection set.
Influenced by Pattie Maes at MIT and Joel Garreau author of Radical Evolution, Kelly created the Maes-Garreau Law which states "Most favorable predictions about future technology will fall within the Maes-Garreau Point". As Kelly writes "The latest possible date a prediction can come true and still remain in the lifetime of the person making it is defined as The Maes-Garreau Point. The period equals to n-1 of the person's life expectancy".
"Nobody is as smart as everybody."---Kevin Kelly
and its future on EconTalk.