It’s very strange that widespread high-speed internet access would coincide with increasing urbanization.

After all, one of the major utilities of this kind of communication tech is that geography becomes much less important: why bother moving to be closer to people who you’re mostly going to talk to on twitter anyway? One would, naively, think that we would end up with (within any given locality) greater ideological diversity: today, someone in a rural area surrounded by conventional republicans can discover fringe political ideas like accelerationism and adopt them — something that really couldn’t have happened in the 1980s. Why doesn’t this happen?

Perhaps it does happen, but confirmation bias leads us to both ideological and physical self-segregation? People who discover fringe leftist ideas will migrate to blue areas where those physically nearby are more open to these ideas, while people who adopt fringe rightist ideas will move to red areas. (This also explains blue oasis areas surrounded by red, like Atlanta Georgia and Austin Texas, both of which have become abnormally influential as cultural centers.)

Written by

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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