Yuval Noah Harari: Homo Deus A Brief History of Tomorrow
This is an absolutely phenomenal read, Harari covers everything that affects and influences human life from religion, politics and history to artificial intelligence and algorithms. Despite covering a lot in the 448 pages, I found this an ‘easy’ read, it wasn’t too heavy and I didnt feel overwhelmed with reading it.
The thing I found most astonishing about this is how it begins, saying outright how humans are upgrading themselves to a ‘God-like’ status. This is something I had not previously thought about, but you can kind of see that happening; people are looking at ways to prolong their lives. One thing Harari mentions is how there is the possibility of extending life to 150 years! Why is this even something that is being considered? Because of a result of revolutions and human desire to learn, understand and essentially be more.
“During the Agricultural Revolution humankind silenced animals and plants, and turned the animist grand opera into a dialogue between man and gods. During the Scientific Revolution humankind silenced the gods too.”
Hurari also reinforces how we can learn a great deal from history – to shape our future.
“This is the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies. Of course this is not total freedom – we cannot avoid being shaped by the past. But some freedom is better than none.”
I found reading this to be especially beneficial given the things we have witnessed over the past few weeks in particular the debate to end racism (why is that even a debate?) and the effort of scientists working tirelessly to find a vaccine for COVID-19. This has really shown both the best and worst in humanity and also shown that history lessons need to cover the injustices that great countries such as the UK and USA bought on other countries, not to make people feel ashamed but so we can learn from the past.
“History isn’t a single narrative, but thousands of alternative narratives. Whenever we choose to tell one, we are also choosing to silence others.”
Our future is the most unpredictable one yet, due to developments in science and technology no one knows what the world will look like in 100 years. It is frightening but given the amount of knowledge we have accumulated, there is a possibility that we can all work together to influence politics on all levels to ensure that when we leave the world, it is genuinely a better place, given all the data that surrounds us, so for example with robots that enhance the lives of humans – and not taking over the world, like it had been portrayed in movies such as I, Robot.
“Present-day politicians are thinking on a far smaller scale than their predecessors a century ago. Consequently, in the early twenty-first century politics is bereft of grand visions. Government has become mere administration. It manages the country, but it no longer leads it.”
This review is only a slice of what Yuval Noah Harari explores in Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and this is a book that covers all interests that people may have. And because of this, this is the one book that I would highly recommend to everyone to find a copy and have a read.