This week I read Nick Bilton’s new book, I Live in the Future and Here’s How it Works – Why Your World, Work and Brain are Being Creatively Disrupted. Bilton is the lead technology writer for the New York Times Blog, Bits. If you’ve ever read Bits you know that Bilton has real insight into the evolving role of technology in the way we live.
In plain language I Live in the Future explains where we are and how social media and evolving communications tools are shaping our future.
A couple of my fav elements from I Live in the Future:
- The porn industry. Bilton opens with an eyebrow raising profile of the porn industry as a twisted example of how we should be adapting our products to consumer need.
- The consumnivore. He describes the evolution of a new consumer who is dictating not only the type of content being created but the fact that immediacy trumps quality and quantity in this new world order.
- Anchoring communities. While not necessarily new, I Live in the Future supports the case that social networks will evolve to create critical ‘anchoring communities’ that will serve to curate and control the monster of information overload.
- Content is no longer king. In the future people will pay for experiences, not content, according to Bilton. While he never fully clarifies what characterizes the optimal experience, this discussion in chapter 8 is worth the price of the book alone.
- The New York Times backstory. Perhaps the most interesting part of I live in the future is backstory of the New York Times’ prickly transition into the world of digital journalism. While it isn’t a core element of the book, it is very interesting to see hear some of the struggles that were happening on the inside.
- QR codes. There are QR codes at the beginning of every chapter. You scan them it pulls you to a page with links and additional content. I have to admit that I found the book’s copy compelling enough to keep me off of the web-based collateral material.
This is an easy, entertaining read. Bilton’s style is blatently conversational – I felt I couldn’t put the book down. If you want to understand what’s happening around us and where we’re potentially headed, drop what you’re doing and grab yourself a copy.