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

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FOURTEEN

Everything Is Interconnected—Part II

Frequently, we interconnect things to make them safer or because we hope to increase a system’s efficiency. Creating interconnections is almost a knee-jerk response to the need to make systems safer. We tend to focus on the higher-probability events, paying less attention to the lower ones that could have catastrophic consequences. We just assume they will not happen on our watch.

The trouble with this approach is that it can lead to a system-wide catastrophe. In some cases, by reducing the chances that high-probability small problems will occur we increase the risk of lower-probability problems of catastrophic proportions—the Katrina effect.

When building power grids, we interconnect them so we ...

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