“I’ve never had a Skype conversation that worked properly,” my friend Maria says in response to my enthusiasm about the flagship example of Estonian entrepreneurship. “Welcome to connected Estonia.” It’s my first time in her home country; I’m here to give a talk about the relationship between art and technology. As Maria and I hide from the January sleet, I ask her all about Estonia: Is it true that she learned how to code in elementary school? Does she vote online? Does she know how extraordinary her country seems from afar? We’re sitting in a restaurant in the medieval capital of Tallinn, and I can’t stop asking questions. Maria jokes about Skype because it has become a symbol of Estonia: Though its founders are from Sweden and Denmark, the service was developed in the tiny Baltic country in 2003 and it is heralded...

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