Book review: WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us

I wrote this book review for A summer reading list for open organization enthusiasts, where you can find many other great book recommendations from the open org community on

WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us

by Tim O’Reilly

Since I first saw Tim O’Reilly speak at a conference many years ago, I’ve always felt he had a good grasp of what’s happening not only in open source but also in the broader space of digital technology. O’Reilly possesses the great ability to read the tea leaves, to make connections, and (based on those observations), to “predict” potential outcomes. In the book, he calls this map making.

While this book is about what the future could hold (with a particular filter on the impacts of artificial intelligence), it really boils down to the fact that humans are shaping the future. The book opens with a pretty extensive history of free and open source software, which I think many in the community will enjoy. Then it dives directly into the race for automated vehicles — and why Uber, Lyft, Tesla, and Google are all pushing to win.

And closely related to open organizations, the book description posted on Harper Collins poses the following questions:

  • What will happen to business when technology-enabled networks and marketplaces are better at deploying talent than traditional companies?
  • How should companies organize themselves to take advantage of these new tools?

As many of our readers at know, the future will be based on open source. O’Reilly provides you with some thought-provoking ideas on how AI and automation are closer than you might think.

Do yourself a favor. Turn to your favorite AI-driven home automation unit and say: “Order Tim O’Reilly ‘What’s the Future.’”

This book review was originally published with other book recommendations in the article, A summer reading list for open organization enthusiasts, and is under a Creative Commons 4.0 BY-SA license.