Excellent piece on the Dunbar number, and its implications for social media and society: "For hundreds of thousands of years, we lived together in small hunter-gatherer bands... with the same few dozen people... Our wetware reflects this fact. We can keep track of about 150 friends... 22,350 relationships ... number grows exponentially with the number of friends... Beyond 150, we start to run up against cognitive limits...: Dunbar’s Number... Beyond 150 ... You can’t keep track of all the players, so free-riders get away with it. Sociopathic behaviors become personally advantageous".
We've found various ways to "hack our wetware to scale trust... enabled by, and co-evolve with, related technologies":
New tech disrupts - eg printing press: "There were 200 years of religious warfare after Gutenberg. It took a long time to invent new institutions (democracy, liberalism, science…) that could cope with the new information environment. Now here comes the internet... We haven’t invented the institutions to cope with this new information environment."
One solution: scale down, aka Small is Beautiful: "people retreating to group chats, Discords, Slacks. Smaller, high-trust communities: the Cozyweb."
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