'Wired' founder on Chinese creativity
If it is fair to say that dropouts like Jobs and Gates unconventionally helped grow the computer and Internet technology in their business, it might be equally fair to say that Kelly unconventionally helped develop a deeper understanding of the Internet and the wider technology. The Wired magazine he co-founded has become a window into how technology is changing the world. If you read his articles in Wired and the books he wrote, you would find his views about technology are quite different from conventional wisdom you have heard.
Perhaps the most unique view is that for Kelly, technology is “a living, evolving organism”. His two best-known books come straight to the point right from their covers: What Technology Wants; Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World or The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization. Technology is more than just things people invent but “anything that springs from the human mind”. That Kelly is interested in what technology wants shows that he cares about how the human mind can be creative.
From this perspective, technology is an extension of a creative living being. It can be seen from the history that the growth of technology to a considerable extent depends on the social and individual circumstances. What Kelly means by “Out of Control” is not that humanity will collapse into chaos because of the flourishing technology. Rather, it means the free growth of technology is the reflection of the free growth of a creative living being. (A more exact Chinese translation of Out of Control than 失控 might be: 走出控制: "The Emergence from Control", or "Walking Out of Control".)
To Kelly, creative living beings don’t live in a top-down system with a center of control, but in a bottom-up, diverse, distributed and complicated world with numerous self-governing members who are highly connected. The creative nature of human beings is not a result of human decisions. Both why humans can be creative and how they create are beyond their control.
Going further in this mode thinking, without any modification, paints a very chaotic picture of the creative process. But what Kelly has seen is more than just a world of humanity and nature. Yes, humans can be creative. Yet humans themselves are also a kind of creation. The creativity of humanity springs from that of the one who created humanity. This idea is what the Bible describes when it says God created humans in his own image. Though the creative world of humans is beyond their control, it is under the rule of their creator.
In this sense, technology is more than just an extension of human beings. It becomes an extention of the living being who created humans. The reason Kelly is is so fascinated with technology “is that every individual human has a certain God-given set of talents that require things like technology in order to be expressed.” He says, “technology is actually a divine phenomenon that is a reflection of God.”
In addition, one could make sense of some deeper meaning of creativity from God’s creation of humans. When humans were created, we were endowed with a characteristic that is closely linked with creativity: freedom. Without freedom, it would be impossible for humans to be creative. But to endow humans with freedom means their creator took a huge risk.