To date, these two new cultural and intellectual centers have proceeded on largely separate tracks, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, ignoring each other as much as possible. For the most part, it has been a good bargain, giving the nation the advantage of two distinct ways of thinking, without them stepping on each other’s toes too much.

But that won’t be the case going forward. The law-making and regulatory state will expand to cover more of tech, and tech has scaled so effectively that its products — such as autonomous cars or the possible ability to influence elections — are running into more legal and political issues.

Ideally, we’d like a synthesis of the strengths of tech and the legal-based reasoning that dominates the federal government. But the Bay Area and the D.C. area are built on such different principles, and they don’t understand each other very well. It’s more likely that we see a rude awakening, as the U.S. realizes its two most influential centers have been pulling the country in opposite directions.