Byline: Niall Ferguson
Feel the chaos? Technology is feeding mind-boggling volatility everywhere.
The human race is interconnected as never before. Is that a good thing? Ask the Lords of the Internet--the men running the companies Eric Schmidt of Google recently called "the Four Horsemen": Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google--and you'll get an unequivocal "yes." But is it true? In view of the extraordinary economic and political instability of recent months, it's worth asking if the Netlords are the Four Horsemen of a new kind of information apocalypse.
Don't get me wrong. I love all that these companies have achieved. I order practically everything except haircuts from Amazon. I write this column on a MacBook Pro. I communicate with my kids via Facebook. It's 6:55 a.m., and I've already run six searches on Google. Did I forget to mention that I've already received 29 emails and sent 14?
I also really like the Netlords. They are among the smartest guys on the planet. Yet they are also self-deprecating and sometimes very funny. (OK, not Steve Jobs.) So my question …