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

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THIRTEEN

Everything Is Interconnected—Part I

Anything in isolation, like a single atom, is interesting enough. But link a few atoms to one another and things get exciting. Connect carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen to form the four nucleotides—adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine—then connect those nucleotides with chains of deoxyribose and you get DNA. Connect layer upon layer of DNA and you get life.

And from life comes civilizations, which require interconnections in order to thrive. To develop culturally and technologically, citizens have to be productive; this productivity in turn requires specialization. But if someone specializes—by making, let’s say, wheels—he has to engage in trade to satisfy his other needs. In ancient times when large ...

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