We have long known that the world is too big for us to fully understand, much less control, but we have long thought that underneath the chaos there must be an order. For the past few hundred years, we thought that order consisted of simple rules governing a complicated universe. The rules were enough to make the place explicable, and when the inevitably unexpected happened, we would just put it in the “accidents” column.
Even before machine learning began to give us a different model, the old model had been shaken up by twenty years of online life. We have developed tools and processes that make perfect sense given the internet’s capabilities and weaknesses, but that implicitly present us ...