Bill Davidow On The Dangers Of An Over-Connected Society

March 15, 2011

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I recently interviewed Bill Davidow, the veteran Silicon Valley VC and co-founder of Mohr Davidow Ventures, about his recently published book: OVERCONNECTED: The Promise and Threat of the Internet.

The premise is that our modern society faces new perils because our computer technologies and the communications technologies of the Internet accelerate flaws in our systems. For example, the recent financial crash that was sparked by the mortgage crisis, was made easier by computers and the Internet.

Mr Davidow borrows from his engineering background the concept of "positive feedback". This describes systems that can feed on each other to grow out of control. It is these positive feedback loops that put us in peril, and as our use of computer and Internet technologies increases at a fast pace, this increases our vulnerability to unpleasant effects such as economic crises.

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