In the physical world friction usually costs us energy to overcome but on the other hand we can't walk without it. In the computational world, complexity can often slow progress but if it didn't exist we could have many other problems.
We've seen a taste of this as computers got faster, information more accessible and better algorithmic tools particularly in learning and search.
- Privacy: We can now store more information about each person and even the old information is much easier to access. Perhaps as important we can now learn more from less with much better algorithms. We're almost at the point where computers know more about us than we know about ourselves.
- Markets: Two words: Flash Crash
- Airlines: We can easily find the cheapest airline flights and so airlines have put considerable effort into competing on this single dimension of price at the expense of the whole flying experience. This has also reduced competition where now airlines have cut capacity so they can keep prices higher.
- Politics: Politicians act as a proxy for the people in a democracy and we entrusted them to make difficult decisions because we didn't have the tools to help in these processes ourselves. But now we have much more access giving less flexibility to politicians, making them focus more on the short term instead of the longer picture and polarizing our politics.