An incredibly good, and equally important, essay on why the by-products of digital business are even more toxic than the pollution caused by the industrial age. It’s a challenge at societal scale and needs to be treated like that.
The feculence has become so dense that it is visible—and this is only what has floated to the top. […] The question we face in the digital age is not how to have it all, but how to maintain valuable activity at a societal price on which we can agree. Just as we have made laws about tolerable levels of waste and pollution, we can make rules, establish norms, and set expectations for technology. Perhaps the online world will be less instantaneous, convenient, and entertaining. There could be fewer cheap services. We might begin to add friction to some transactions rather than relentlessly subtracting it. But these constraints would not destroy innovation. They would channel it, driving creativity in more socially desirable directions. Properly managing the waste of millions of Londoners took a lot more work than dumping it in the Thames. It was worth it.