delong261_JorgenmacGetty Images_redtape Jorgenmac/Getty Images

How Humanity Lost Control

Unlike our ancestors, our social world is not confined to our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, and those with whom we directly interact. Instead, more and more of what we do is driven by an extremely complex assembly of vast interlocking social and technological mechanisms that we have made but do not understand.

BERKELEY – How can we be at least 15 times richer than our pre-industrial Agrarian Age predecessors, and yet so unhappy? One explanation is that we are not wired for it: nothing in our heritage or evolutionary past prepared us to deal with a society of more than 150 people. To operate our increasingly complex technologies and advance our prosperity, we somehow must coordinate among more than eight billion people.