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Overconnected: The Promise and Threat of the Internet by William H. Davidow

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TWO

Overconnectivity and Surprises

The changes brought by the railroad happened over several decades. It took a long time to build bridges and lay tracks. It took years to improve the efficiency of steam engines. New materials had to be developed to enable boilers to handle high pressure. New tools were needed to fabricate the boilers from those new materials. Low-cost steel was required to make rails durable enough to bear heavy loads. In the end, rail systems created faster, cheaper connections between distant locations, and transformation followed.

By contrast, the Internet’s dramatic effect on interconnectivity seemed to happen in a flash—so fast indeed that we have lost control of it. How did this happen? How did this particular skein ...

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