Mitchell, my (perhaps vain) hope is that we can gradually learn to engineer in safety-mechanisms so that our societies can avoid the most obvious pitfalls inherent in our nature. It’s easy enough to do with physical objects: we engineer into automobiles the air-bags, crumple zones, seatbelts, etc. to compensate for the fact that 98% of drivers are totally unskilled, unobservant, and basically incompetent. We make our electronic toys easy to use, hiding all the complexity that perhaps fewer than 1% of users comprehend in any meaningful way. The electrical circuits in our homes are mostly idiot-proof for the same reason. Although it is unlikely, I hope that one day we’ll accept all the evident proofs of our cognitive incapacity and hardwired behaviors and begin to engineer mechanisms to constrain ourselves so as to preclude the kinds of self-harm (and hard to life all around us) that until now has been the unenviable hallmark of our species.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.