1The Evolution of Web1 and Web2

It's natural to be skeptical of claims that a new technology will change everything. I was born in the early 1990s in a moment of techno‐optimism. The recent fall of the Soviet Union had Americans like my family convinced that our system was basically correct, and that with this system in place, our society was ripe for innovation. The scale that new innovations could reach suddenly seemed infinite, thanks to Clinton‐era globalization introducing low‐cost production and efficient transnational supply chains. There was no doubt technology would progress linearly, if not exponentially, unlocking opportunities for prosperity and making them available to all. The invisible hand of social progress appeared to be steering us inevitably toward a more accepting world without borders. It was the end of history and the beginning of the greatest era in technology. For my cohort of friends, we expected a life of relative ease compared to our parents, our needs entrusted to kindly robots, our days spent whizzing over futuristic cities in flying cars, like those in “The Jetsons.”

Suffice it to say I was disappointed. It was not the end of history, as Francis Fukuyama infamously proposed at the turn of the 1990s. Global hunger, poverty, and violence would continue shrinking, but my friends and I would contend with economic disasters, physical and psychological disease, and the collapse of trust in institutions and between people, which is arguably the true ...

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