Andrew Sullivan makes a moving case that the combination of free markets, free societies, and free minds are genuinely enlightening. There is a kind of progress–uncertain and fragile, to be sure–in human affairs when ideas are tested and discarded in open exchanges. The bigoted opinions of the past were discredited not only because they were trollish, but because they were not true. An exciting characteristic of continuous computing is that it acclerates and enhances open exchanges, so that “network effects” (as economists call them) can be applied to new and different kinds of human activity. Mike Fitzgerald wrote about some of the ways technology can promote collective intelligence in the most recent issue of Technology Review.
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