My second great read from Harari that blew my mind. The author first explains how we managed to tame famine, plague, and war with new technologies and that we will use upgraded information and bio-technologies for humanity’s new goals: immortality, bliss, and divinity – basically becoming god (Homo Deus).
After this introduction, the first part (Homo Sapiens conquers the world) goes into depth what makes Homo Sapiens so unique in comparison to other animals – this serves as a base to examine the future relations we will have between superhumans and humans. How will an upgraded human-cyborg treat ordinary humans?
In the second part (Homo Sapiens gives meaning to the world), the bizarre world of the 20th century is analyzed. It explains how Humanism became the new world religion, and humans now give meaning to everything (whereas it was the Gods before). It also discusses the implications on social, economic, and political agendas and how this thinking shapes our everyday life.
The last part then focuses on the early 21st century (Homo Sapiens loses control). It draws from the insights of the previous sections and outlines possible alternative futures. It shows how fulfilling the humanist creed might be the end of Homo Sapiens and will develop us into Homo Deus. He ends with three problematic and interlinked processes:
1. Science now has the dogma that organisms are algorithms, and life is data processing. 2. Intelligence is decoupling from consciousness.
3. Non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms might know us better than we know ourselves.
This leads to 3 questions:
1. Are organisms really just algorithms?
2. What’s more valuable – intelligence or consciousness?
3. What will happen to society, politics, and daily life when non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we do?
This book really was an eye-opener for me. Especially the decoupling of intelligence and consciousness and the way that we outsource many essential skills to non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms was something that didn’t seem that important to me before. This leads me to believe that technology is making us dumber in some cases because it relieves us from using our cognitive brain function.
Personally, I now value my consciousness more than before reading the book. It made me want to keep exploring and understanding myself and my consciousness and to inform others about the possible dangers of exponential information and biotechnology growth.
If the summary caught your attention, you can buy the book here.
I am reading A LOT of books lately, and to remember more of what I read, I summarize them and give my thoughts on it. I thought, why not share it with you. If you buy the book through the links at the end of the post, I might get a little bit of commission at no charge to you.