Planes are computers we fly in. Stoves are computers we cook on. Buildings are computers we inhabit. Nearly every manufactured object has a chip in it, and we deploy sensors to make everything that isn’t already a computer machine-readable. In doing so, we are building a digital shadow world, an imperfect and evolving reflection of the physical world we walk around in every day.
The feed is the internet on steroids. It is what you might get if you tossed Google, Amazon, Baidu, Apple, Tencent, and Facebook in a cauldron along with a couple of highly-classified ingredients and let the whole thing ferment for a few decades. It is the sum of human knowledge, the forum for trillions of conversations, the clearinghouse for all transactions, the hub of culture and media, the engine behind every connected device, the ubiquitous digital layer that every resident of this particular future takes for granted. The feed can feel more real than reality. It is the most useful, beautiful, and dangerous of humanity’s inventions.
Complement with this Chicago Review of Books interview about Borderless, ten annotated Bandwidth highlights, and Imagining New Institutions for the Internet Age. If you want to stay in touch, the best way to follow my writing is to subscribe to my newsletter.