This year, we decided, besides covering the birthdays of icons of technology and science who are no longer with us, we’d celebrate some of the living icons who’ve directly influenced our lives as makers.
When I started brainstorming my list, Kevin Kelly was one of the first people on it. Kevin was an editor of Whole Earth Review and the Whole Earth Catalog, publications that had a profound impact on me and helped set the course of my DIY life. He was also a founding editor of Wired and was instrumental in setting the tone of that hugely influential publication.
Kevin’s books include Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World. This book was a big influence on my own Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots and my continued interest in biologically-inspired technology (e.g. behavior-based robotics). Kevin’s recent projects include the indispensable Cool Tools mailing list, Street Use (a site of folk technology and clever street hacks), and the Quantified Self (self-knowledge through self-data tracking).
Happy Birthday, Kevin. And thanks for decades of inspiration, thought-provocation, and “access to tools.”