Tech Innovator Tim O’Reilly: Don’t Fear Technology, Robots Or The Future

By Bill Swindell
The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Tech innovator Tim O’Reilly has written a book entitled: “WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us.” O’Reilly says he doesn’t fear the future. He writes: “Instead of using technology to replace people, we can use it to augment them so they can do things that were previously impossible.”

The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Tim O’Reilly, evangelist for the digital era, has been described as a web guru and an internet pioneer.

He’s popularized trailblazing concepts such as open source software and Web 2.0, the era that followed the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and ushered in user-generated content and social media.

He’s done it all from his perch as the founder of Sebastopol-based O’Reilly Media, a technical book publishing company that has morphed into an online learning platform and events business — adapting itself to the disruptive changes brought on by a digital world. The company employs around 400 people with offices in Boston; Farnham, England; Oakville, Ontario; Beijing and Tokyo.

Now O’Reilly, 63, is turning to a much broader general audience with his latest project, a book entitled: “WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us.”

In it, he takes what he has learned from some 40 years in the tech world and applies it to the challenges facing our economy and society, where artificial intelligence, robots and big data are changing our lives.

O’Reilly doesn’t fear the future. He writes: “Instead of using technology to replace people, we can use it to augment them so they can do things that were previously impossible.”

In an interview at his Oakland home, O’Reilly covered a wide range of topics: his business, weaning ourselves from Wall Street’s influence on our economy, sexism in the tech culture, and why he thinks ride-hailing business Uber has been over-hyped. The transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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