An observation due to Arthur C. Clarke offers a way to understand this second trajectory: any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. The networked world evolves so rapidly through innovation, it seems like a frontier of endless magic.
Clarke’s observation has inspired a number of snowclones that shed further light on where we might be headed. The first, due to Bruce Sterling, is that any sufficiently advanced civilization is indistinguishable from its own garbage. The second, due to futurist Karl Schroeder,1 is that any sufficiently advanced civilization is indistinguishable from nature.
To these we can add one from social media theorist Seb Paquet, which captures the moral we drew from our Tale of Two Computers: any sufficiently advanced kind of work is indistinguishable from play.