The option on the option

The nodes in the global network mesh have reset systems of engagement. The frequency, the links, the scope and goals of interaction are now different. Not necessarily better and not necessarily worse, but in some cases more or less, slower or faster, denser or thinner, skewed or balanced for individual clusters, some of which are tied and some of which are not, and overall, as a result, the network profile as we know it – the mesh of social, industrial, political, financial, economic flows and patterns – has been altered.

The process is continuing, and is likely to continue after the initial catalyst has passed, because a change in any network profile is known to lead to actions and reactions, dynamic responses within the network graph, with unintended consequences and side effects and ripples, all ultimately rooted in behavior, which might change or stay the same in brief or lasting ways, that aren’t easy to anticipate. Because it is a network, the farthest distant and most isolated node is not entirely without influence. It’s only a question of degree.

By the same token, the most central and most densely linked can stir things up most forcefully. This isn’t a matter of better or worse necessarily, as mentioned, but about the breadth and depth of change. A list of current examples follows, in no particular order, which could be regarded in terms of direct causes and effects, and, maybe more interestingly still, the indirect ones that are possible.

MIT Technology Review
NY Times
The Information
Joe Weisenthal / Bloomberg morning note

As mentioned, this isn’t about better or worse, necessarily, it’s about unpredictability and change. To which we will eventually adapt, as the network stabilizes.

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