In the mid-’90s, when my geeky partner was snaffling a domain using my surname and trying to convince me of all the ways the internet would liberate me from the most mundane aspects of my academic and journalistic endeavours, I was a sceptic.
Not because I couldn’t use the technology; I’m old enough to remember the basic commands required to drive DOS. My worry was about quality control: “If anyone can post anything on it, how do you know what to trust?”
His answer was confident and, at the dawn of a new era in information verification, unvexed by reality: “The algorithm. It’ll push what’s best to the top, and what’s rubbish further down.”