While a few clever people have given us “everyday magic” our brains are still hardwired for the African savannah and the primordial forests of Eurasia. What that means is that our use of modern technologies is bound by our evolved behaviors. As we’re a group species it’s natural we should seek the comfort of groups wherever we can, and it’s also natural that we should see conflict between groups because our brains are hardwired for zero-sum, not mutual gain.

While many of the fine-grain details may remain somewhat obscure to our predictions, it’s generally possible to adumbrate general directions and consequences. And one obvious adumbration is that modern communications technologies (of which social media is becoming the largest element) will amplify disparities between groups of individuals. We’ve already seen plenty of examples of this; the question for society is: do we sit passively and watch events unfold or do we attempt to channel things into more constructive paths? And if the latter, what does that actually mean and how could it practically be achieved?

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.