The unity of nature that anchored the scientific era has now given way to fragmentation of the physical world. This fragmentation goes hand in hand with the social fragmentation that arose from the rising wealth, urbanization, mobility and technology of modernity. The internet both promotes and constrains the double fragmentation, for a thriving existence where things and people don’t quite connect.
Herein four essays explore the change. “The Prize Fight” assesses how the internet shatters unity in the physical world, while constraining the bits of human experience. “Internet Society Sans Internet” views our era through the lens of other societies that, though technically weaker, have been as fragmented. “Physics Amid Fragmentation” shows how fragmentation now permeates physics, particularly in string theory and the resulting polemic on scientific proof. “Triangulating by PowerPoint” analyses why PowerPoint presentations have become a means of pathfinding in this new world.