Is the World Getting Smaller Again?

Trust and knowledge were restricted by geography. Travel advancements, then telegraphs, telephones, and finally the internet expanded the range of trust and knowledge to nearly every corner of the globe.

But the low barrier to information led to an overwhelming volume, and increasingly clever tricks and tech allowed people and governments to game trust-enhancing systems.

Now the internet is becoming a weaker source of knowledge and trust. People are reverting back to smaller communities.

The digital “globe” you experience in your news feed is curated to match your tastes, leading you to believe the world looks a lot more like you than it likely does. When you experience the shock of reality, trust erodes further.

The shrinking of the reach of knowledge and trust is neither inherently good or bad. It is sad, but in the same way that anything that results from human weakness and sin is sad. It is not uniquely sad, except for those who grew up watching the web of knowledge and trust expand in a seemingly endless and inevitable way, and now are seeing it shrink back to what feel like barbarous times.

Maybe the world gets smaller and stays smaller for a long time. Or maybe this is just a bump in the road and new trust enhancing mechanisms and signals will emerge to continue the expansion. But for now, the expansion has halted and a contraction has begun.