Dave Nussbaum, Professor of Behavioral Science at Booth (U Chicago)
Hi Eric, I'm curious what you think the effect of a digitally connected world is on the geography of genius. It used to be that geography imposed incredible constraints on access to ideas and their free exchange, but now it's increasingly possible to connect with a community that shares your interests without leaving your home town. What are the key elements still missing for someone on infertile soil, geographically, but who is connected digitally?
I don’t think geography is dead in the digital age. In fact, there's a case to be made that it is more alive than ever. All of these digital connections motivate us to take the next step and have “real” ones. Air travel is more, not less, popular today.

If we believed everything we’re told by the digerati in Silicon Valley, there would be no Silicon Valley. We’re told “you can work anywhere, live anywhere” yet the people telling us this tend to work and live in one place. So, clearly, there is something about physical connections that encourage creativity, genius even. It might be the “interaction opportunities” that an urban setting provides, or the subtle facial cues we get from a colleague at a meeting.

Even if more of our lives do migrate online, culture is not going away. In fact, there isn’t one digital world out there but many worlds—something like the hundreds of Greek city-states we saw in ancient times. I can imagine a future where we see “golden ages” popping up in certain quarters of the Internet. Maybe this one!
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