Because the nature of the network economy seeds...

...disequilibrium, fragmentation, uncertainty, churn, and relativism, the anchors of meaning and value are in short supply. We are simply unable to deal with questions that cannot be answered by means of technology. The stereotypical modern consumer is already a rather thin character. He or she is like a balloon: possessing an inflated ego and a thin identity stretched to its limit. They don't know who they are, but they are very certain that they are very important. The smallest prick can pop their container.

In the great vacuum of meaning, in the silence of unspoken values, in the vacancy of something large to stand for, something bigger than oneself, technology--for better or worse--will shape our society.

Because values and meaning are scarce today, technology will make our decisions for us. We'll listen to technology because our modern ears listen to little else. In the absence of other firm beliefs, we'll let technology steer. No other force is as powerful in shaping our destiny. By imagining what technology wants, we can imagine the course of our culture.

The future of technology is networks. Networks large, wide, deep, and fast. Electrified networks of all types will cover our planet and their complex nodes will shape our economy and color our lives. The shift to this new perspective will be neither immediate nor painless. Nor will it be as strange as it first appears.

There is no reason to accept the imperative of technology without challenge, but there is also no doubt that technology's march is clearly aimed toward all things networked. Those who obey the logic of the net, and who understand that we are entering into a realm with new rules, will have a keen advantage in the new economy.



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This is a blog version of a book of mine first published in 1998. I am re-issuing it (two posts per week) unaltered on its 10th anniversary. Comments welcomed. More details here.
-- KK