I recently came across this paper which supposedly validates the Dunbar limit for social activity on Twitter: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149601/
This brings into question to what extent can information technology, social media and innovation more broadly actually increase human capacity for coherent collective intelligence. My intuition is that breaching the Dunbar threshold (perhaps a better word than “number”, since it’s only really a theoretical pattern we’ve observed and stipulated about in scientific studies) requires a fundamentally new way of being together in community with other humans.
One major problem at the moment is the widespread meaning crisis and loneliness epidemic – very few peoples’ social circles (at least in my observation) even have the capacity to begin to try and overcome the Dunbar threshold. People generally only have a few very close friends and a bunch of acquaintances. Work vs. recreational social circles are generally quite distinct, at least with the younger generation in Australia.
How can we even begin to think about human societies beyond n=150, acting through collective sensemaking, collective intelligence and coherent organisation if we can’t even test out new forms of societal structures in the current context?
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