I was talking with an old friend about lots of things including the Internet and the conversation wandered somehow to the Old Testament. She asked “Maybe the Net is like the tower of Babel?” It’s not that strained an analogy; what we’re trying to build does partake of large-scale hubris. “But that story had an unhappy ending” I replied. And indeed, were a vengeful hand, divine or otherwise, to intervene, to confuse our language so we could not understand each other, that would be disastrous at the scale of Babel. I don’t think we’re trying to restore the pre-Tower state though: Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. Trying just to lower conversational friction and barriers to entry for everyone in the world, that’s hubris enough.