Humans developed a unique ability to cooperate with each other in large numbers. In families, companies, societies or religions.
We are not unique in this space. Ants, bees or other social species do the same by aggregating in colonies of tens of thousands. They achieve a collective intelligence by deciphering a secret signature within their pheromones.
Lets take an example. 2 ants have to go from A to B. One takes a shorter way. The pheromones leaved behind will lead the following ants to pursue. Pheromones of Trust. The more ants are passing through the shorter way the “stronger” their pheromones signature. Thus, and shorter way becomes the collective path. Like humans leaving trails on the most easiest path on a virgin grass field.
In human society, large scale of cooperation started when we developed language. A unique ability to speak and leave trails not only on the grass, but also on our minds. The neurons in the brain firing synapses until becoming a thought.
We became capable of organizing by the billions only based on fictional concepts. Concepts from our heads like countries, money, religion or football.
Some theories bet this shift was sparkled by some mushrooms or other psychedelic plants. Some of our early ancestors consumed them in their journey from Africa across the globe. Maybe information is organizing through us and we are simple vessels? Lets not go down this rabbit hole :).
Armed with this cognition mechanism we can now leave “cognitive trails” behind for others. This could be a synopsis in a “Rick and Morty” meets “Hansel and Gretel” episode. We became so good at this game. Most of the planet reached a whooping 86% global literacy in 2019.
The problem with the literacy is the same as its virtue: always in search for higher perspective.
As a fictional “by product” of our mind, it can function only as long as there is another “Observer”. One who acts as a Responsible because it has the full perspective and can Plan ahead. The Observer can also reiterate on the Planning if things are not moving in the right direction. Could be a parent, a boss or the prime minister.
Few people understand why they do what they do in their jobs, schools, economies or whatever. For most there is this idea that Somebody in the higher hierarchy has the full picture. Could wish us well or not but at least they have a better picture and they know were we go. Bad news, there is no one there :).
In my country, Romania, back in the 80’s, during Communism Era you knew when applying for a Civil Engineer University how many available sits are. Lets say 200 places per year. Somebody calculated (good or bad) that the country needs 200 new engineers next year to build X number of square meters for the next 5–10 years. Usually they could have failed by less than 20%.
I am not preaching communism but today, nobody knows in the world how many jobs we need in any of the domains. Not even in China or other more centralized economies. That’s because of our complex global interconnectedness. The more complex become the fabric of our interactions, the more difficult is predicting the outcome. Predict weather, couple of more days ahead and it becomes impossible. This is a tiny example from education but extrapolates to almost any industry, company or country.
And this is not the biggest challenge.
The above example is a high level example of limited cognition and goals at top level. But the societal construction evolves from small fractals of the same game. Couples, families, teams or companies plan their smaller collective future every day.
Top end, most of the resources and time go toward internal communication and planning. Any country, company or large scale organization uses most of resources on planning.
At the bottom end, very few people even care about a collective agenda. It is difficult to manage yourself, let alone understand more complicated fabrics. Even if you are a responsible citizen :). Dedicating time to understand the big picture, it is getting harder every day. People is not used to deal with such massive amounts of new information. A new word comes into existence every 90 minutes . A more complex linguistic structure with more data and information is rising.
Add to the above the following:
a limited by design cognitive ability,
a shrinking focus time
an evolving AI with its own private agenda
There you have it. We become a society unconsciously generating the conditions for manipulation.
Not the high level manipulation (good or bad) at the very top. More the kind of chaotic, short term manipulation of smaller and smaller entities. With shorter and shorter sights. Like kids manipulating each-other.
Religion used to fill this gap in the past. It came with large collective story which was easy to understand and practiced every day. Times for Religion in its traditional sense have passed. The need for a global, collective (fictional) Story was never higher. Otherwise our unique ability to cooperate in large numbers will disappear.
Imagine how would it be if the entire Humanity’s cognitive power, elevated by the power of AI processes, would be coupled with an “Ants like” ability to trust another human. For the moment we could only see these phantasies on separate images as in Sagrada Familia vs Ants House similarities.
But what if we could feel each other’s while exploring our individual journeys? Every emotion we find along the way: excitement, fear, joy will not be just spoken but felt by each one of us. So the AI’s could come later in the process to materialize the thoughts.
Then we would use our Minds to project unique journeys while collectively feeling the shortest ones.