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We like happy endings to stories, but this narrative, which is about the unintended consequences of digital connectivity, has a nuanced resolution. There is a public good aspect to the Internet, in that the benefits of a healthy network are felt by all, regardless of who is paying. Information exchange and community spirit are non-exclusive and non-rival. Harnessing the power of this interaction has made humans the most powerful species and will continue to do so. It will require that connectivity across humans and machines is conducted in a spirit of cooperation, thereby promoting trust and risk sharing. The balance between individual liberty and networks of trust can be achieved through dialogue, collective thinking and collective action. We cannot achieve this with walls, firewalls and fragmented societies.
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