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Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

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Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. T Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.


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Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. T Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

30 review for Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This is a profoundly shocking piece of writing, a tactic which Yuval Noah Harari uses to great effect in getting readers to think about society today. The book is ostensibly about the future of mankind, but really is a means of highlighting how current trends in science, technology, humanity etc may progress and asks if that's really how we want things to go. It's philosophy. That big question that has been posed throughout the ages: how should we live? He makes clear that his hypotheses are onl This is a profoundly shocking piece of writing, a tactic which Yuval Noah Harari uses to great effect in getting readers to think about society today. The book is ostensibly about the future of mankind, but really is a means of highlighting how current trends in science, technology, humanity etc may progress and asks if that's really how we want things to go. It's philosophy. That big question that has been posed throughout the ages: how should we live? He makes clear that his hypotheses are only potential ways the future might unfold, but the text comes across as a warning as much as anything else. For me, the most interesting and thought-provoking was his argument for the better treatment of animals. While we have placed ourselves at the top of the species ladder, new advents in technology may bring about computer technologies which replace us in the number one spot. Considering we may well end up in the unenviable position of the underdog, perhaps we should take more care of those who, like us, may well depend on the goodwill of this higher in the chain. Not only that, modern technology has increasingly allowed us to understand the emotional and intellectual complexity of animals in a way that should make it difficult to treat them as lesser beings. This is an issue that has been playing on my mind for some time. It seems like every week now we are getting news reports of another animal ripped from its habitat for a selfie and dying as a result. Pictures of intensive farming that have animals in cages so small they can't lay down. My social media newsfeed of animals mistreated, dumped, abused, given no more thought than a piece of trash. Harari is a vegan and his specific set of beliefs come across in the text. Yet, as a current meat eater, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify my position. I don't know what to do that can help and the book doesn't offer any concrete plans for change, but it has added another dimension to the considerations I have been struggling with myself. Overall though, it is Harari's style which is the most engaging. I rushed though this book because even the most complex issues are dealt with in accessible language and an approachable tone. It's fun and despite the subject matter, doesn't take itself too seriously. It felt like the starting point of a conversation, somewhat controversial of course, but isn't that the best way to get a debate going? Many thanks to Yuval Noah Harari, Random House/Vintage, and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrej Karpathy

    This book reads like the author read a number of popular science articles, watched some sci-fi movies, attended a transhumanist meetup, got just a bit high on weed and then started writing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Homo Obsoletus The audacious first act, Sapiens, ended with a wild and apocalyptic prophesy - that the Sapiens were cooking up the next epochal revolution that will overshadow the previous three: the cognitive, agricultural and scientific/industrial revolutions. Home Deus, the second act, is the full exploration of that prophesy. Both Sapiens and Homo Deus are compulsory reading in my book, even though the macro-history presented is plenty vulnerable to all sorts of attacks. But then, it might be Homo Obsoletus The audacious first act, Sapiens, ended with a wild and apocalyptic prophesy - that the Sapiens were cooking up the next epochal revolution that will overshadow the previous three: the cognitive, agricultural and scientific/industrial revolutions. Home Deus, the second act, is the full exploration of that prophesy. Both Sapiens and Homo Deus are compulsory reading in my book, even though the macro-history presented is plenty vulnerable to all sorts of attacks. But then, it might be better to think of these as works of philosophy and not of history. Just like Sapiens is not a History, Home Deus is not a prophesy, both are explorations. This line can be taken as the transition line that links the first book with the second one: “Having raised humanity above the beastly level of survival struggles, we will now aim to upgrade humans into gods, and turn Homo sapiens into Homo deus.” The old enemies of mankind— plague, famine and war—are now under control. Except for the potentially restrictive energy constraint, Sapiens has very little standing in our way now. The result is that the Sapiens are becoming more and more God-like, Harari says, and one is forced to pause and reflect: by any previous standards of our history, are we not already Gods? Have we not already exceeded most wild power fantasies? Well yes, but even more God-like attributes are coming: cheating death and creating new life being primary. And along with this march towards the godlike we are marching towards being machine-like too, as we outsource more and more of our internal algorithms to better data-based external algorithms. And the march is relentless, Homo Deus is taking birth before our eyes. The tomorrow is already upon us, and so forth. However, just like the previous three revolutions that infused the Sapiens with power, this revolution too will come at a price, the price of a ratcheting up of inequality. The new Gods will be the techno-super-rich. BTW, reading Harari is good motivation to work on getting rich faster: he hints at a possibility that anyone who is rich enough to afford it, some 50 years into the future, should be able to buy proxy-immortality. And it will probably be a window that closes quickly, since the super-rich would soon take over the monopoly on immortality. So if you are rich enough at the right point in time, then you can be part of Olympus too. That might not be a deal many would want to miss out on… There is one more catch: as technology takes over most of the functions, even the godlike sapiens will find themselves stuck in a universe devoid of real meaning. Bulk of humanity will have no economic, social or cultural purpose since anything we can do our new creations would be able to do even better. “Organisms are algorithms,” and the new algorithms will be so much better than the imperfect ones we are made of. As Bill Gates asked in his article about the book, “What If People Run Out of Things to Do?” We will be stuck in an immortal meaninglessness, our own creations clearly our betters. We will need a new religion to make sense of all this, since the powerful combo of Humanism+Science will not work in world where the sanctity of being Human has lost meaning. Harari feels that “Dataism” will be the religion that will fill the avoid left by Humanism. The whole of Humanity, the Earth, and maybe the entire Universe will become servants to data - a huge data-processing system, the eternal all-knowing Atman. And serving this goal will be the only meaningful pursuit left for us. Immortal, All-powerful, Obsolete: this is the future of the Sapiens.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “Every day millions of people decide to grant their smartphone a bit more control over their lives or try a new and more effective antidepressant drug. In pursuit of health, happiness and power, humans will gradually change first one of their features and then another, and another, until they will no longer be human.” ― Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Harari takes us, with this continuation to his blockbuster book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, from the past to t “Every day millions of people decide to grant their smartphone a bit more control over their lives or try a new and more effective antidepressant drug. In pursuit of health, happiness and power, humans will gradually change first one of their features and then another, and another, until they will no longer be human.” ― Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Harari takes us, with this continuation to his blockbuster book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, from the past to the future. This book shares a lot of the same limitations of the previous book. But because "speculation" is inherent in writing about the future, Harari's jumps are easier to forgive when talking about tomorrow than when talking about today. I'm a diabetic and have an insulin pump and I've thought of myself, only partially in jest, as a early, unsophisticated, cyborg the last ten years. I walk around with my iphone plugged into my ears, my artificial pancreas plugged into my thigh, my sensor for my pump plugged into my stomach. It isn't very neat. We have miles to go before all of this technology becomes aesthetically amazing, and loses all the wires and clunky functionality, but it still gives me pause about the future. My friend's Tesla drives by itself, big data seems able to predict what I will buy next, my smart phone really is smart. Perhaps we are all surfing towards some Omega Point. I have a friend who is a Transhumanist and it has been interesting to hear him discuss the values and virtues of Transhumanism. I'm a little more hesitant. I'm no Luddite, but I DO worry about these big technological/cultural/commercial shifts. Will technology make Homo Sapiens the next Homo Neanderthalensis? Will these gains through AI, technology, genetic modification, etc., be well-thought-out? Harari hedges by saying he doesn't know what the future brings (If he did, perhaps we should just join his church), but is only using this discussion to suggest the type of ethical and moral and even survival discussions we SHOULD probably be having. As we incrementally crawl towards some form of technological singularity, perhaps we need to give pause to not just the benefits, but costs of self-driving cars and sex robots.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is a powerful book by a truly insightful author. I recently read Harari's previous great book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, and I enjoyed this one just as much. There is so much packed into Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, that it is hard to do justice to the book in a review. Yuval Harari has such a unique insight into how the world turns. He is sometimes very blunt, but he "tells it like he sees it." The first two-thirds of the book is devoted to a description of how the This is a powerful book by a truly insightful author. I recently read Harari's previous great book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, and I enjoyed this one just as much. There is so much packed into Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, that it is hard to do justice to the book in a review. Yuval Harari has such a unique insight into how the world turns. He is sometimes very blunt, but he "tells it like he sees it." The first two-thirds of the book is devoted to a description of how the humanist philosophy developed, while the last third is about how humanism may very well fall to the wayside in the not-too-distant future. In the beginning of the book, Harari describes two new human agendas. The first is how humans attempt to extend their lifetimes, and the second is to increase happiness. The goal is to upgrade homo sapiens into homo deus. That is, the desire to re-engineer our bodies and minds, escape old age, death and misery. Basically, to attain divinity. Harari gives numerous examples of how were technologies developed to aid ill or handicapped people, and then were borrowed to help "normal" healthy people; prosthetics, bionics, Viagra, memory aid drugs, plastic surgery, and genetic engineering. (In 2000, a baby girl was born with genetic inheritance from three parents; nuclear genes from mother and father, and mitochondrial DNA from another woman! A year later, the U.S. government banned this special treatment, but the U.K. has since approved it.) Harari contends that historians study the past, not in order to repeat it, or to foretell the future, but to be liberated from it. He gives a marvelous example of the history of the grass lawn. He writes that the best reason to study history is not to predict the future, but to "free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies." Harari has some interesting insights into the founding of modern religions. He writes that they were founded when humans switched from hunting/foraging to agriculture. A central point of the religions was to give humans dominion over all animals, in order to justify their domestication and superiority, and to justify the terrible suffering humans cause for animals. The agricultural revolution was both an economic and a religious revolution, used to justify brutal exploitation of animals. Agricultural societies also started treating some classes of people as property. I wonder, though, didn't pre-agricultural societies practice slavery? When I try to do some simple online research in this subject, it seems like Harari might be correct; slavery was established to mimic the domestication of animals. And, the agricultural revolution was bad for humans in other ways, as well. A peasant in 1850 in China or Britain had a worse life than an archaic hunter-gatherer, from the point of view of diet and hygiene. Harari has some unique insights into the dichotomy between religion and science. He describes science as a new "religion" that replaced theist religions with humanist religions, replacing gods with humans. The hatred of monotheists for the theory of evolution is inspired by the lack of scientific evidence for a human soul. A soul has no parts, and evolution operates through incremental changes to various parts of a whole. But, both religion and science, in theory at least, are both devoted to the truth. But since their truths are different they seem doomed to clash. However, since neither religion nor science really care much about truth, they can coexist. Religion is mostly interested in social order and structure, while science is mostly interested in power. That is, the power to cure disease, fight war and produce food. So, since religion and science prefer order and power over truth, they "make good bedfellows." Modernity is a simple deal based on a contract: Humans agree to give up meaning in exchange for power. Plagues, droughts and wars have no cosmic meaning to modern humanism, but we have the power to eradicate them. Paradise does not await us after death, but we have the power, in principle, to create paradise here on Earth. Modernity is based on the belief that growth is essential. Growth is the supreme value. Because avarice and greed help to fuel growth, they are encouraged. Traditional religions offer no alternative to liberalism because they are reactive instead of creative. This wasn't always true. During the Middle Ages, Christian monasteries were among the most advanced centers for innovations--Harari lists a number of their innovations. But today religions look to scriptures for answer. But scriptures are no longer a source of creativity, as they say nothing about modern technologies such as genetic engineering or artificial intelligence. Harari describes three different possible futures for humanism. In one of these, liberalism may die out as technology displaces humans. The masses will lose their economic and military importance. Harari suggests that "Dataism" may appear as a new religion. Dataism advances the first truly new value in nearly 200 years; the value of freedom of information. Dataism is firmly entrenched in its two mother disciplines, computer science and biology. Organisms are seen by scientists as data-processing systems. The stock market is the most powerful of all data processing systems, and centralized government is one of the worst. Capitalism defeated Communism during the Cold War, not because it is more ethical or because individual liberties are sacred, but because in times of rapid technological change, distributed processing systems work better than centralized systems. Humanists rely on feelings to make important decisions, and these feelings evolved over millions of years. But often our feelings are just irrational and wrong. Computer algorithms can surpass feelings in making good decisions. So, the humanist recommendation to "get in touch with your feelings" may not he given in the future. Perhaps, meaning in life will not lie in our experiences, until they are shared with others, through social media. And, these social media will analyze our experiences, and be able to give expert advice on important decisions. Harari gives some pretty good evidence that this trend may come to pass. I do want to quibble with some numbers that Harari proposes. He writes that the one billion cars owned around the world could be reduced to 50 million, if they were jointly owned and operated autonomously. People could share rides. However, people want to commute to work in cars all at the same time. They sit in parking lots at work and at home because people have no need for them during work hours and overnight. But this is perhaps a minor point in Harari's argument. Many people will pooh-pooh much of what Harari has to say. But, it is all extremely thought-provoking. I have just scratched the surface of this book. I highly recommend it to all open-minded people who are not afraid to think a bit differently about the meaning of life, about our political structures, and the future.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nir

    Harari is a fantastic historian: he writes effortlessly and fascinatingly about historic trends, and has a great big picture perspective of the revolutions and contexts of historical progression. Harari, however, is not a good futurologist and an absolutely terrible cognitive scientist. Being educated in Cognitive Science and technology myself, all I can say, with the utmost respect I can offer to a fellow Israeli, is that he's full of shit. Homo Deus is an attempt to make a sequel to the wildly p Harari is a fantastic historian: he writes effortlessly and fascinatingly about historic trends, and has a great big picture perspective of the revolutions and contexts of historical progression. Harari, however, is not a good futurologist and an absolutely terrible cognitive scientist. Being educated in Cognitive Science and technology myself, all I can say, with the utmost respect I can offer to a fellow Israeli, is that he's full of shit. Homo Deus is an attempt to make a sequel to the wildly popular (and actually quite good) "From Animals into Gods" - its main thesis is that in the 21st century, liberal humanism would progress into "techno humanism"; and that humanity's main efforts would be to upgrade humans into some bizarre godlike cyborg entity. He focuses on some aspects of modern progress (e.g. genetic engineering) and extrapolates completely insane uses. An example of a claim that he makes: In the near future, the efforts of medical science would be tuned to upgrading the rich rather than healing the diseases of the poor. His underlying zeal for a hunter gatherer sociological eco-utopia notwithstanding - this is bullshit, and focuses on a remote obscure threat rather than a very real threat that's already here: If there's a threat to modern society from modern medical science, it's is the personalization of medicine, rather than "upgrades". That is, drugs would be concocted to be maximally efficient according to a genotype. This is already happening at a very rough scale (for instance, there are drugs that are more effective on people of African American descent) - but in the near future, rather than upgrade themselves, the rich people would simply have far more effective cancer treatment because they'd be able to afford genotyping and personal medicine. If the cyborg-upgrade part sounds to you like a bad synopsis of a Neal Stephenson novel, you're absolutely right. Let's all jack into the Matrix now! Needless to say, the views have the grounding in scientific and research reality that a SciFi fanfic about Kirk banging Uhura has, and it is written with the same brain addling juvenile exuberance. Read the first book of his; avoid the second.

  7. 4 out of 5

    BlackOxford

    Tongue Firmly in Cheek Or The Mormons Are Right Or Evolution Is So Yesterday Or The Problems of Prayers Answered Or Too Much Good News Is Hard to Take Or It Could have Turned Out So Different; But It Didn’t Or All Thoughts and Feelings Are Algorithms; Except This One Or Fiction Is Our Fundamental Technology; Just Ask Donald Trump Or The Vital Uncertainty: We Can Have Meaning Or Power in Life But Not Both Together As with his previous book Sapiens, Harari tells a story in Homo Deus that is too disconcerting to Tongue Firmly in Cheek Or The Mormons Are Right Or Evolution Is So Yesterday Or The Problems of Prayers Answered Or Too Much Good News Is Hard to Take Or It Could have Turned Out So Different; But It Didn’t Or All Thoughts and Feelings Are Algorithms; Except This One Or Fiction Is Our Fundamental Technology; Just Ask Donald Trump Or The Vital Uncertainty: We Can Have Meaning Or Power in Life But Not Both Together As with his previous book Sapiens, Harari tells a story in Homo Deus that is too disconcerting to summarise, and too captivating to ignore. It is simultaneously arrogant and self-debasing; stimulating and depressing. I can therefore only comment on it by suggesting a series of alternative subtitles. Those noted above only scratch the surface of possibilities. It is the last however that I find most insightful and inspiring to further thought. Perhaps an addendum to this review will be necessary at some point.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Helen 2.0

    Obviously I need to get a copy of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind because I loved this book. I can't claim to be well-read in the topic of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, so I'm definitely biased in my opinion that Harari is a genius. Every few pages my copy has lengthy passages highlighted, brilliant bits I just knew I would want to reference when I pitched this book to family and friends later on. In Homo Deus, Harari holds that now that humanity has all but solved the mammoth pr Obviously I need to get a copy of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind because I loved this book. I can't claim to be well-read in the topic of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, so I'm definitely biased in my opinion that Harari is a genius. Every few pages my copy has lengthy passages highlighted, brilliant bits I just knew I would want to reference when I pitched this book to family and friends later on. In Homo Deus, Harari holds that now that humanity has all but solved the mammoth problems plaguing it before the 21st century - disease, famine, and violence - it will turn to a new agenda, namely attaining happiness, immortality, and divinity. This is what the blurb will tell you, but the book addresses many more topics beyond the above. The author writes about our potential future in terms of our recent and ancient past (he is, after all, first and foremost a historian). He explains how humans distinguished themselves from the animal world and came to recognize the human experience and economic growth as the ultimate powers of the recent centuries. Harari then turns to look at where the unstoppable tide of technology and progress may take us in a few decades - whether intelligent algorithms and a genetically upgraded superhuman elite may make ordinary humans obsolete. His ideas, put starkly, may sound like far-fetched science fiction, but Harari supports his assertions with historical and current evidence as well as deep insights that make his predictions seem chillingly close to prophecy. Even though he states that Homo Deus is meant to help readers explore all possible future routes of humankind, the book still induced an ominous feeling in me the whole way. One of my favorite passages concerns the belief in a potential scientific "Noah's Ark" which will deliver the rich and social elite from detrimental future effects of climate change, leaving the poor masses to deal with the fallout: Even if bad comes to worse and science cannot hold off the deluge, engineers could still build a hi-tech Noah's Ark for the upper caste, while leaving billions of others to drown. The belief in this hi-tech Ark is currently one of the biggest threats to the future of humankind and of the entire ecosystem. People who believe in the hi-tech Ark should not be put in charge of the global ecology, for the same reason that people who belive in a heavenly afterlife should not be given nuclear weapons. Touché. And one of the best "food for thought" snippets, in a chapter discussing (among other things) the moral implications of farming animals: If and when computer programs attain superhuman intelligence and unprecedented power, should we begin valuing these programs more than we value humans? Would it be okay, for example, for an artificial intelligence to exploit humans and even kill them to further its own needs and desires? If it should never be allowed to do that, despite its superior intelligence and power, why is it ethical for humans to exploit and kill pigs? All that being said, the book does have a tendency to ramble a bit. Harari hammers his main points into the reader through numerous repetitions and returns. There are 50 page chapters in Homo Deus, elaborating on and illustrating one single-sentence argument. However, lots of the evidence the author presents is interesting in itself - often it was a historical case applicable to current events - so it never gets boring.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Atila Iamarino

    Que livro amigos, que livro. Não lembro do que li que me fez pensar tanto e mudar a forma como vejo o mundo. Uma ótima análise rápida sobre como chegamos aqui, que se conecta muito bem com o Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, e uma análise mais extensa sobre para onde podemos ir. A análise em terceira pessoa sobre humanismo, capitalismo e tendências futuras é excelente. E a reflexão que ele traz sobre os valores que damos para o valor individual, consciência e autonomia só deve ganhar import Que livro amigos, que livro. Não lembro do que li que me fez pensar tanto e mudar a forma como vejo o mundo. Uma ótima análise rápida sobre como chegamos aqui, que se conecta muito bem com o Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, e uma análise mais extensa sobre para onde podemos ir. A análise em terceira pessoa sobre humanismo, capitalismo e tendências futuras é excelente. E a reflexão que ele traz sobre os valores que damos para o valor individual, consciência e autonomia só deve ganhar importância nos próximos anos. E tudo isso em uma linguagem acessível e ao alcance de qualquer audiência. Com certeza algo que vou reler muito ainda. p.s. O livro sai em alguns meses ainda, tive a oportunidade de fazer a revisão técnica da versão em português.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cj Dufficy

    Certainly a disappointment when compared to Sapiens. The insights were generally already well presented in the earlier book. The section on animal lives is not convincingly warranted for inclusion but more obviously just a passion for the author leading me to feel I was being preached too. His criticism of Dawkins et al although correct could be equally pointed at himself. The universe will move from hot to cold regardless of quantum mechanical randomness at the quanta scale and equally at our b Certainly a disappointment when compared to Sapiens. The insights were generally already well presented in the earlier book. The section on animal lives is not convincingly warranted for inclusion but more obviously just a passion for the author leading me to feel I was being preached too. His criticism of Dawkins et al although correct could be equally pointed at himself. The universe will move from hot to cold regardless of quantum mechanical randomness at the quanta scale and equally at our barely greater scale (in universal terms) the path of the universe need not worry about human probabilistic behaviour, our free will is irrelevant to the progress of the universe. The fact that it is buried in our consciousness where language based thought is absent is hardly surprising as without it we could never have arrived at language based thought. All living things will die (even if capable of life spans we can't comprehend now) something terminal eventually happens to everything. As finally when the universe is so cold nothing can happen, long after this proton decay will plant the last nail in all coffins. Dr Hariri is no different to a WW1 general asking people to sacrifice some of their one and only life to benefit some unknown present or future person or animal with zero guarantees the sacrifice pays off but 100% certainty of the personal cost. Technology won't replicate humans, why would anyone want to copy such an imperfect organism when so many better options would be available? He admits, to paraphrase Dr King, that the arc of history is towards justice. The future is not a destination we choose any effort to dictate global outcomes never succeeds and this book is just another "I know best contribution" that will soon be forgotten. Generally the book feels as a world view supported selectively and not the wonderful voyage of discovery presented in Sapiens. Like Dawkins hating God though not believing, the author to object to humanism sneers at humans. No one ever said humans should act justly towards anything as a result of evolution but wth curiosity, generosity and empathy we have achieved a lot and are headed to achieve more although doomed anyway either in the long or short term. He fails completely to demonstrate any logic for a human that is mortal caring the exact length of time left to the species and acting altruistically as a result, and so totally unaware his action would have a measurable affect. If Mr Schickelbach hadn't changed his name to Hitler how different would the 20th century have been? What is the possibility of picking out causal events like these or knowing preventing them offers a better present. Everyone alive today must selfishly accept all of the great or horrible past or simply not exist. I'm happy I read it just a little deflated that so little eye opening left field explanations are in it and so many unsupported claims are made. To sum up he reminds me of the experimenter that forgets he is part of the experiment and can never not be.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Safat

    We are not so taken aback when we hear computer programs can beat human chess masters. After all, computers are far more efficient calculators than humans, and chess can be broken down to calculations (In fact, nowadays chess masters don't stand a chance against present day computer Chessmaster programs. It's simply not possible for a human mind to beat them). And we're also not at all shocked when Google and Tesla present us automated cars driven by computer programs. Nevertheless, we reason,co We are not so taken aback when we hear computer programs can beat human chess masters. After all, computers are far more efficient calculators than humans, and chess can be broken down to calculations (In fact, nowadays chess masters don't stand a chance against present day computer Chessmaster programs. It's simply not possible for a human mind to beat them). And we're also not at all shocked when Google and Tesla present us automated cars driven by computer programs. Nevertheless, we reason,computers can never rival humans in arts, because arts require something distinctively(perhaps even spiritually) humane, which can never be replicated by computers. If you're a believer in this sort of human distinctiveness, perhaps you would naturally be thrown off upon hearing that a computer program written by a professor of musicology produced musical piece that the audience thought was superior to Bach. In other words, AI has already passed the Turing test in music. If programs can outperform us in our allegedly distinct 'human art' form, there's really no reason to think that it can't outperform us in every other field. Programs may lack subjective consciousness like us, but that doesn't stop them to outperform us in intellectual and artistic fields. Harari's new book explores the dimensions of the marriage between man and machine. He basically paints a dystopian vision of the future where humanity is by and large subjugated to non conscious intelligent machines. He even entertains the idea with the rise of brain-machine interfaces, where today's elite class of human beings would upgrade themselves to a biologically improved version of humans, which the general mass couldn't possibly afford for their lives. This would create a real caste system with real biological hierarchies. After reading Harari's previous book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, I must say that I am a bit disappointed with this book. Much of the book is reiteration of the previous book which seemed to me largely redundant. However, although this book is not as articulated or entertaining as the previous one, it is probably more important, considering the topics it deals with.

  12. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    The title and the premise of Yuval Noah Harari’s Home Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow sounds intriguing; however, not much felt new. I feel like I’ve already heard much of the author’s arguments in other places. So while the various topics discussed are interesting and thought-provoking, Homo Deus is mostly provocative because of the way it is packaged. Advancements in a number of fields, especially in relation to data and an increase in our longevity, are examined to make the point that we ar The title and the premise of Yuval Noah Harari’s Home Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow sounds intriguing; however, not much felt new. I feel like I’ve already heard much of the author’s arguments in other places. So while the various topics discussed are interesting and thought-provoking, Homo Deus is mostly provocative because of the way it is packaged. Advancements in a number of fields, especially in relation to data and an increase in our longevity, are examined to make the point that we are reaching a pivotal moment in our history. In order for transformations to be made, the author argues we need to change our mindset and expectations and maybe even our concept about individualism. While that may be true, I was hoping to hear more about the future, the tomorrow in Harari’s subtitle, than the past. The final quarter of the book did focus on that tomorrow (what the job market might look like, whether man or some people in the job market might end up being completely superfluous, the future role of AIs in our society etc.), but I would have preferred more of that analysis earlier in the book. I would have also liked something closer to the beginning of the book about how important algorithms would be in that analysis. 3.5 stars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Weronika

    The book is hugely disappointing. A year or so ago I read an interview with Harari on this book, which was still work in progress, and I found his views on biological inequality (and, to a lesser extent, the decoupling of intelligence from consciousness) very insightful. Actually, it was that interview that inspired me to read Sapiens, which, despite certain flaws, unfortunately amplified in Deus, is a book definitely worth reading. Meanwhile, Deus is wordy, chaotic and repetitive; most of the b The book is hugely disappointing. A year or so ago I read an interview with Harari on this book, which was still work in progress, and I found his views on biological inequality (and, to a lesser extent, the decoupling of intelligence from consciousness) very insightful. Actually, it was that interview that inspired me to read Sapiens, which, despite certain flaws, unfortunately amplified in Deus, is a book definitely worth reading. Meanwhile, Deus is wordy, chaotic and repetitive; most of the book is a just hotchpotch of quite basic facts stretching across many disciplines that does not seem to serve any purpose. A portion of that is a repetition from Sapiens, but most sounds like extended paragraphs from high school textbooks which are intended – I guess – to support each chapter’s main claim, but fail to do so, as they are not inserted in any kind of persuasive argumentation. Despite most of the book’s being redundant, I have to say I appreciated Harari’s insights on free will. Had I not read about biological inequality before, I’d probably also somewhat praise that part. If I hadn’t read Sapiens, I could have liked the parts already discussed in Sapiens (but if you haven't read Sapiens, just read Sapiens). But I'm afraid that's all. Really disappointing, I honestly wanted to give up on this book at least three times, but ploughed through it, including notes, anyway, because I hoped I'd discover something of real value in the end. Didn’t happen.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    Excellent again. Harari is fast becoming one of my favourite writers. I didn't love Homo Deus quite as much as Sapiens, but I think that's because the history Harari takes us through in the latter really does read like a very compelling novel. This book explores different themes and theories about the future of humanity - relating to aging, technological advancements, etc. - which makes it not as cohesive. Still, though, very interesting. He really knows how to break down complex concepts so ev Excellent again. Harari is fast becoming one of my favourite writers. I didn't love Homo Deus quite as much as Sapiens, but I think that's because the history Harari takes us through in the latter really does read like a very compelling novel. This book explores different themes and theories about the future of humanity - relating to aging, technological advancements, etc. - which makes it not as cohesive. Still, though, very interesting. He really knows how to break down complex concepts so everyone can understand them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bianca

    Mind-blowing! What an interesting, compelling, thought-provoking and, yeah, kind of scary book. After finishing it, I'm both elated and anxious. Homo Deus (what a perfect title) was complex and it covered a lot of things, but it is especially trying to decipher where the humanity is going. Consciousness, the individual, intelligence, and the very important ability to organise are thoroughly analysed. I was very surprised to have my native country mentioned and analysed briefly but comprehensively. Mind-blowing! What an interesting, compelling, thought-provoking and, yeah, kind of scary book. After finishing it, I'm both elated and anxious. Homo Deus (what a perfect title) was complex and it covered a lot of things, but it is especially trying to decipher where the humanity is going. Consciousness, the individual, intelligence, and the very important ability to organise are thoroughly analysed. I was very surprised to have my native country mentioned and analysed briefly but comprehensively. More importantly, Harari answered a question I've been asking myself for many years. In retrospect, the explanation is logical but it never occurred to me and nobody else was able to enlighten me either. Algorithms - a modern word, but very important, as we all are biological algorithms. What's more important - intelligence or consciousness? I also enjoyed the recap/rundown of some historical events in history. Harari also addresses our cruel treatment of farm animals. I'm an omnivore who feels guilty. What else? There's a lot to take in, but Harari unpacks it for us in an eloquent, easy to understand manner (well, I understood it). I'll probably buy the paperback so I go over certain chapters again. This audiobook was splendidly narrated by Derek Perkins. Highly recommended

  16. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Reiterated Popperian Non-Fiction: "Homo Deus - A Brief History of Tomorrow" by Yuval Noah Harari When I was little, I believed (sort of) that Santa Claus existed. It was a working hypothesis that worked, and I didn't look behind it until it became untenable. Now I effectively assume my continuing identity as a person - because that works, sort of, too. In me, and most people I know, the baton of consciousness, of awareness of one's I-ne If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Reiterated Popperian Non-Fiction: "Homo Deus - A Brief History of Tomorrow" by Yuval Noah Harari When I was little, I believed (sort of) that Santa Claus existed. It was a working hypothesis that worked, and I didn't look behind it until it became untenable. Now I effectively assume my continuing identity as a person - because that works, sort of, too. In me, and most people I know, the baton of consciousness, of awareness of one's I-ness, is repeatedly exchanged at unimaginable speeds between the two hemispheres. That baton seems to get dropped by people suffering certain forms of dementia - with increasing frequency as their condition worsens, being eventually only picked up and handed to and fro for brief, sometimes apparently fortuitous periods, if at all. How cruel (alongside other pains and indignities) to lose the working hypothesis that everyone else lives by. But perhaps, isolated in the permanently unfamiliar and frightening. Now they may be closer to the reality of the human condition than the rest of us. As with Santa, the mere fact that a working hypothesis produces a desirable and convenient result does not make it correct. Take famine. We are told that "famine is rare". But across what data-set is that claim true? Across the data-set of what we actually know, about what is actually happening, at the present time? But that is a profoundly-inadequate data-set. We ought to consider also what we don't know about what is happening right now (Do we know whether or not, even right now, a serious famine is underway in under-reported/remote in parts of Africa?). More important, we ought to consider what might have happened, in recent history (has humanity quite possibly been merely lucky not to have experienced a mega-famine, in recent times (we may have come close, for instance, in 2007-9, during which period most of the world's countries resorted to banning food exports)?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bharath

    Having read Sapiens, I had some idea that there would be new themes which Yuval Noah Harari would cover which nobody else has before. With Sapiens, it was about the agricultural revolution and the binding power of stories. And yes - there are brilliant new themes in Homo Deus as well - our delusion of free will and the Sapiens in a future world ruled by algorithms, and it continues excellently from where Sapiens left off. If Sapiens was about how the most powerful species consolidated it's power Having read Sapiens, I had some idea that there would be new themes which Yuval Noah Harari would cover which nobody else has before. With Sapiens, it was about the agricultural revolution and the binding power of stories. And yes - there are brilliant new themes in Homo Deus as well - our delusion of free will and the Sapiens in a future world ruled by algorithms, and it continues excellently from where Sapiens left off. If Sapiens was about how the most powerful species consolidated it's power, Homo Deus is about what is in store for Sapiens. The theme of the power of stories - to bind and also delude is continued in Homo Deus. Stories - good or bad enables large scale co-operation among Sapiens - even if the story is not entirely logical or fair to other species. This has led to Humanism as a religion, where Sapiens have declared themselves as the centre and primary purpose of the universe. So everything else revolves around Sapiens - and all other life forms are for it's use. This has led to us being extremely cruel with other life forms and farm animals lead miserable lives from birth till death. The story which binds humans regards this as the norm and generation after generation sees nothing wrong in it. How would humans feels if a more advanced species (spawned off by artificial intelligence) should make judgements and kill undesirable humans? There are fairly long discussions around political systems and the growth of liberalism. I found this to be a little too long, and it could well have been crisper. Humans have acquired a combination of intellect and consciousness which was regarded as necessary for being advanced life forms at the top of the pyramid. Consciousness especially would be difficult to acquire. However, it is clear now that intelligence which is superior is adequate to ascend the pyramid. Already artificial intelligence is winning over humans in several fields regarded as earlier insurmountable such as chess and even the arts. Humans will depend more and more on algorithms and at some point algorithms will be all powerful. One big surprise which the book springs is around our free will. Do we really have free will? - or do we make forced choices based on experience and conditioning? I found this to be the most interesting discussion in the book. While I do not think the future will play out entirely as outlined, it might still be close. The reasoning and discussions are excellent, provoking us to think & reflect - and isn't that what is most important in a good book? Yuval Noah Hariri closes the book being thankful to the practice of Vipassana meditation as taught by S N Goenka for allowing him to look beyond conditioning and see things as they are. A sign that there is wisdom which is eternal and will endure, isn't it?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anastasia Alén

    Shocking. Entertaining. Incredibly thoughtful. Freaking fantastic! One of the most informative books I have ever read. I think Homo Deus poses some excellent questions that make you question your existence. Why do we think of ourselves as superior to all other life forms. Why do we have such strong faith in imaginary things such as money, gods, human rights, companies...And what will become of us if dataism succeeds. All in all, it's clear that we can't keep living like this. Harari's writing sty Shocking. Entertaining. Incredibly thoughtful. Freaking fantastic! One of the most informative books I have ever read. I think Homo Deus poses some excellent questions that make you question your existence. Why do we think of ourselves as superior to all other life forms. Why do we have such strong faith in imaginary things such as money, gods, human rights, companies...And what will become of us if dataism succeeds. All in all, it's clear that we can't keep living like this. Harari's writing style is very engaging. He's a bit of sarcastic when he questions religion, our history, science, technology, humanity, our supposedly superior position to other life forms, humanism, liberalism, yet he doesn't claim that he's some expert in this matter, he just gives you a set of facts. Thank you Yuval Noah Harari for writing this & Random House UK, Vintage Publishing Harvill Secker and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tudor Vlad

    I’ve only read one other book written by Yuval Noah Harari and that was Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, this follows in the steps of that to the point that it seems more like a sequel even if they can be read in whatever order you wish. Just as Sapiens, Homo Deus is a gripping book, I love Yuval’s writing style because it never bores me, he always manages to draw my full attention. Homo Deus is a book that wants to present the possible roads that the future might lead us to. It’s not a pr I’ve only read one other book written by Yuval Noah Harari and that was Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, this follows in the steps of that to the point that it seems more like a sequel even if they can be read in whatever order you wish. Just as Sapiens, Homo Deus is a gripping book, I love Yuval’s writing style because it never bores me, he always manages to draw my full attention. Homo Deus is a book that wants to present the possible roads that the future might lead us to. It’s not a presentation of how the future will look, but rather how it might. I found the format of this book interesting, it often seems chaotic with subjects ranging from the history of lawns to even a chapter about Nicolae Ceaușescu. When you look at them individually, they don't seem to be that relevant to the subject of the book, but there’s order in his chaos and this is what makes this book and Sapiens so compelling, how he uses examples that are not only fascinating, but also easy to understand, informative and relatable. The only thing I could reproach is that the title is misleading, there’s surprisingly little about the future of humankind in this. It felt more like an extension of the last chapter in Sapiens. It even recycles some ideas from Sapiens while expanding others. Overall the ideas presented here are by no means original, but Yuval Noah Harari deserves credit for the way it managed to gather and present so many ideas in a way that not only made sense but was also easy to understand and follow, all that while also being surprisingly entertaining.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Otis Chandler

    Sapiens was one of my favorite nonfiction books I've read in the past few years - so I was excited for the sequel. Overall, its very worth it and full of a lot of the interesting high level perspectives and frameworks. But it also lacks the clear structure of a coherent narrative, isn't presenting (to me) quite as novel information, and also does some strange things - like using the word 'liberal' in contexts that I don't think definitionally make sense. I like the train of the thought that Harar Sapiens was one of my favorite nonfiction books I've read in the past few years - so I was excited for the sequel. Overall, its very worth it and full of a lot of the interesting high level perspectives and frameworks. But it also lacks the clear structure of a coherent narrative, isn't presenting (to me) quite as novel information, and also does some strange things - like using the word 'liberal' in contexts that I don't think definitionally make sense. I like the train of the thought that Harari closed Sapiens with and continues in this book, which is about human happiness and how to optimize for it - though he doesn't have rosy conclusions on where we are headed. And the notion that we are going to beat death at some point soonish (I'd guess in 20-40 years) is not a new one, but is a very interesting one. Whether or not humans will over time stay human, or be divided into superhumans and regular humans, or create a class of economically useless people - are some of the larger questions we will face in the future as AI and aging advance. Success breeds ambition, and our recent achievements are now pushing humankind to set itself even more daring goals. Having secured unprecedented levels of prosperity, health and harmony, and given our past record and our current values, humanity’s next targets are likely to be immortality, happiness and divinity. Having reduced mortality from starvation, disease and violence, we will now aim to overcome old age and even death itself. Having saved people from abject misery, we will now aim to make them positively happy. And having raised humanity above the beastly level of survival struggles, we will now aim to upgrade humans into gods, and turn Homo sapiens into Homo deus. "

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

    4.5 stars actually, this book give us a comprehensive look into the near and distant future . Homo sapiens (modern humans) were able to gain dominance over all of nature because of their ability to communicate and to collaborate with each other and because they could use their collective brain to come up with novel ideas, but as technology progresses and we rely more and more in computers and algorithms these computers programs are based on , are we as a species giving up dominance to technology 4.5 stars actually, this book give us a comprehensive look into the near and distant future . Homo sapiens (modern humans) were able to gain dominance over all of nature because of their ability to communicate and to collaborate with each other and because they could use their collective brain to come up with novel ideas, but as technology progresses and we rely more and more in computers and algorithms these computers programs are based on , are we as a species giving up dominance to technology? Are we becoming obsolete? And if we become obsolete who or what is primed to take over the mantle and what will happens to Homo Sapiens once it does happen? This is what these book asks and it dwells in many scenarios this could happen, there are already artificial intelligence available (our iPhones, robot doctors and gps) , humans could use these new technology to enhance themselves and if they do , will they still be fundamentally human? Or would they more divine , (Homo Deus) and once these disparities become apparent, how would ethics, religion or the human experience changed to accommodate this reality? The point of this book is to explore these questions and to make us try to come up with an answer , or pretty soon if not already too late that choice will be taken from us.

  22. 5 out of 5

    André Oliveira

    So good and scary at the same time!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Harari picks up where he left off with Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, a fantastic book that I gave a 5 star review HERE. There he shows where we've been & spends the last chapters asking where are we going. He also asks what is happiness? Both are important questions that he starts off addressing here with The New Human Agenda, an interesting & long introduction that covers a lot of thoughtful territory to set the stage for the 3 parts of the book. His examples are great since the Harari picks up where he left off with Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, a fantastic book that I gave a 5 star review HERE. There he shows where we've been & spends the last chapters asking where are we going. He also asks what is happiness? Both are important questions that he starts off addressing here with The New Human Agenda, an interesting & long introduction that covers a lot of thoughtful territory to set the stage for the 3 parts of the book. His examples are great since they take me places I've never been before. I had a good education, I'm curious, & fairly well read, yet he constantly reminds me how poor & US-centric my knowledge of world & its history is. Unfortunately, the length & numbers of his examples actually detract from his overall points at times. He doesn't clearly & succinctly define a premise from the outset & then prove it. Instead, he usually provides a super short idea & expands on it along with a running proof that often obfuscates the premise. I was tempted to drop a star for this, but didn't. He's also preachy at times, something I object to even though I'm usually in the choir, if not on the pulpit with him. Too often his examples & interpretations are lopsided. Normally, the book would lose at least a star, but I didn't even though I point one out later in the review & in the first comment of this review. (I put that comment & some other excursions of my own in the comments since there's just too much here to think about & I was afraid I'd run out space in the review.) --------------------- Update 16Dec2018: here is a good piece about Harari's philosophy that should be taken into account when reading his books. I don't agree with it all, but it does contain important points to consider. https://www.thenewatlantis.com/public... --------------------- As an audio book that I'm listening to at varying times, I occasionally lost sight of where he was going & only found my way back by skimming the text version, but it's all interesting. He's a smart guy with a unique way of structuring large, complex ideas, but the first & second sections could have used more editing. Don't give up, though! The third section brings it all together in a fantastic fashion that I wish everyone would read, especially politicians. That's why this garnered 5 stars. Highly recommended in both text & audio. As with his other book, this is great to listen to, but a text edition is a great way to check & ponder his many points. As you can tell, I found much to ponder here. The rest of the review isn't really for you, but notes for me. Most people rarely think about it, but in the last few decades we have managed to rein in famine, plague and war. It wasn't unusual for 10% or more of a population to die from any one of these. They were once completely beyond our control & in the realm of deities. Now men are held accountable & the amount is down both as a percentage & even actual numbers in many cases even though there are far more people (500 million 1500, 1 billion 1800, 1.8 billion 1920, 7.6 billion 2017). People are still hungry, sick, & killed violently, but it's incredible just how much better things are for most people. - The 1918 Spanish flu killed 20-50 million while the 2014 Ebola outbreak killed less than 12,000. Small pox wiped out 90% of many populations in the Americas. We've now wiped out small pox. - In 2012 about 56 million people died throughout the world; 620,000 of them died due to human violence (war killed 120,000 people, and crime killed another 500,000. Perspective: There were 615,000 Allied casualties in the Battle of Somme in WWI - one battle of many both in that war & those that followed in the 20th century. - Far more people die today due to gluttony than famine. It took just a piece of bread to make a starving medieval peasant joyful. How do you bring joy to a bored, overpaid and overweight engineer? From the primordial ooze to a century ago, survival once demanded our full attention & now it doesn't. The animal satisfied with one meal starved to death, while the one that kept scrambling for more passed on its genes, so we're hardwired to always want more. Now we have it & what? Where are our cravings - the pursuit of happiness - taking us? He provides numbers on suicides that are both indicative & disheartening. From 1/100K in developing countries to 25/100K in developed ones, our relative wealth shows a growing dissatisfaction with life that will only be exacerbated as lifespans & wealth increase. Immortality, actually ammortality, is coming soon to rich people. Part I: Homo Sapiens Conquers the World We live in the Anthropocene era, an age where humans are a force more powerful than the comet that destroyed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. While the beginning of this age is the 20th century, we've actually had a huge effect on the environment since shortly after our cognitive revolution & he doesn't make that point well. Actually, this section suffers greatly from a wandering, yet narrow viewpoint that I didn't expect from him. He seems to have an agenda, especially against factory farming, as if that's the only sort there is. Out of book research: A quick read of Harari's Wikipedia page & his website show that he's a vegan & an animal welfare advocate. That accounts for the lopsided arguments & fanatical tone I detected. While I agree that we're as gods to animals & have done piss poor job of it, we are getting better. We actually have people arguing for animal welfare now & we can afford to. As a historical trend, our treatment of animals is very similar to other technologies - we're very inefficient at first, but we gain understanding & economic resilience as the tech matures (e.g. insulin - see comment #1 for more). I'm disappointed that he didn't point this out at all, but just painted the darkest picture possible. Now humankind is poised to replace natural selection with intelligent design, and to extend life from the organic realm into the inorganic. What is human? What are the bounds between human & machine? Our striving toward artificial intelligence & fixing humans has created cyborgs & designer people. He points out that later versions of these may well regard us as we do animals & have even less in common. His example for how these will come about is excellent. It will start with a needed fix & expand, just like plastic surgery did. (See Comment 2) He spends a lot of time trying to figure out what separates us from other animals. While all have both objective & subjective realities, humans are the only ones that share intersubjective realities or fictions (He referred to them as 'shared myths' in "Sapiens" e.g., money, empire, religion.) which allow us to cooperate in large groups. He wanders through some interesting paths, but seems to have blinders on. For instance, he never once mentions selfishness (ego) in this context & if he did mention the evolutionary maxim of 'the more copies of DNA available, the better', I missed it. Still, he sums up the section well with the following. As human fictions are translated into genetic and electronic codes, the intersubjective reality will swallow up the objective reality and biology will merge with history. In the twenty-first century fiction might thereby become the most potent force on earth, surpassing even wayward asteroids and natural selection. Hence if we want to understand our future, cracking genomes and crunching numbers is hardly enough. We must also decipher the fictions that give meaning to the world. Part II: Homo Sapiens Gives Meaning to the World He starts out by discussing the story tellers. These are the shared myths & he examines how similar religion, empires, & various governing ideologies are in a variety of ways. There's a really interesting discussion on how we measure success in these systems; too often we measure them by their own yardsticks, not on anything real. "Real" being an entity that can feel pain. The Odd Couple - in practice, science and religion are like a husband and wife who after 500 years of marriage counselling still don’t know each other... - Most of the misunderstandings regarding science and religion result from faulty definitions of religion... people confuse religion with superstition, spirituality, belief in supernatural powers or belief in gods. Religion is none of these things... - Religion asserts that we humans are subject to a system of moral laws that we did not invent and that we cannot change... - Religion gives a complete description of the world, and offers us a well-defined contract with predetermined goals... - ...religious stories almost always include three parts: 1. Ethical judgments, such as ‘human life is sacred’. 2. Factual statements, such as ‘human life begins at the moment of conception’. 3. A conflation of the ethical judgments with the factual statements, resulting in practical guidelines such as ‘you should never allow abortion, even a single day after conception’. - Science has no authority or ability to refute or corroborate the ethical judgments religions make. But scientists do have a lot to say about religious factual statements... He then goes on to say that the Scientific Age is also the Age of Ignorance. We learned to know that we didn't know & set about finding out. Unfortunately, the above took an awfully long time with many great examples & thoughts in between the basic premises I listed above. While I enjoy it, the ideas failed to make much of an impression until I could boil them down as above. A lot of this book does this. The Modern Covenant is about liberalism, capitalism, & the growing GDP. It is a rat race. I was surprised that he never mentioned complexity as one of the biggest balancing points, though. Instead, he concentrates on resources, energy, & knowledge. The latter is the only one growing in real terms. The Humanist Revolution: List the best innovations religions introduced in the past century or two. How about men & science? I can't think of anything for the first while I can fill pages with the last. Religion used to be creative, but now it is now entirely reactionary proving it is on its way out. The various fundamentalist movements are death throes. Atheism is on the rise, especially in modern, educated, successful nations where most only pay lip service to their fundamental religion if they espouse one. Much of the reason for this goes back to his original assertion that where gods & prayers failed to do anything about famine, plague, & war, man did. We no longer believe the god(s) are the source of inspiration, art, music, & everything else. So man is now the source of both meaning & authority, the traditional role of god(s) & religion. We believe in ourselves & our fellow man - the new religion, humanism. We're thinking for ourselves. Though in 1850 socialism was only a fringe movement, it soon gathered momentum, and changed the world in far more profound ways than the self-proclaimed messiahs of China and Sudan. If you count on national health services, pension funds and free schools, you need to thank Marx and Lenin (and Otto von Bismarck) far more than Hong Xiuquan or the Mahdi. Part III: Homo Sapiens Loses Control Can humans go on running the world and giving it meaning? How do biotechnology and artificial intelligence threaten humanism? Who might inherit humankind, and what new religion might replace humanism? The Time Bomb in the Laboratory In 2016 the world is dominated by the liberal package of individualism, human rights, democracy and the free market. Yet twenty-first-century science is undermining the foundations of the liberal order… Science has found: - Free will as we've defined it doesn't really exist. We've broken our thought processes down into algorithms. Does it really matter if they run on a carbon or silicon based electro-chemical system? - We aren't "individuals", but "dividuals" - there are at least 2 of us inside - the experiencing & narrating self. The first has no memory, the latter stores the memory often in strange ways to make sense of it & it is often duration-blind. The Great Decoupling …Liberals uphold free markets and democratic elections because they believe that every human is a uniquely valuable individual, whose free choices are the ultimate source of authority. In the twenty-first century three practical developments might make this belief obsolete: 1. Humans will lose their economic and military usefulness, hence the economic and political system will stop attaching much value to them. 2. The system will still find value in humans collectively, but not in unique individuals. 3. The system will still find value in some unique individuals, but these will be a new elite of upgraded superhumans rather than the mass of the population. This section plain terrifies me. It is too obviously happening already. - We have decoupled intelligence & consciousness. Many computer algorithms can & are doing intelligent tasks far better & faster than humans such as stock trading, baseball team picks, playing games. They're not confined to Deep Blue or Watson, a laptop will do most of the time. With Quantum Computing just around the corner, even Watson will be as outdated as the 8 bit Atari I had 25 years ago. - Guiding the masses to decisions. Ignore your political beliefs & read this article especially the references & links to Cambridge Analytica. Public opinion shaped through Facebook memes & fake news that appeals to our prejudices which they know. With just 300 examples, there are algorithms that can pick your 'likes' more accurately than your spouse. - Personal decisions through big data! His description of how & why it could will happen makes far too much sense. (See comment 3.) Worst of all, this is the techno-humanist view, which at least still needs tolerates the vast majority of people. If robots are doing most of the work & fighting, what use are the masses? What will occupy them & keep them out of trouble? Harari doesn't mention it, but China's one-child policy shows that governments can change their populations relatively quickly while retaining their power & keeping the world at large at bay. Theirs wasn't war torn genocide, just a rational step, right? Advancing technologies will only make sterilizing & controlling large, relatively specific segments of the population easier. People as a resource. (See comment 4.) The Data Religion Dataism says that the universe consists of data flows, and the value of any phenomenon or entity is determined by its contribution to data processing. This is where Harari's ability to look at huge systems really shines. He describes how we went from small, disparate data clusters as hunter-gatherers to larger data clusters that were centralized in empires. Communism failed because centralized data couldn't react as well as the decentralized capitalist system. A central authority dictating the amount of wheat to plant & loaves to bake didn't have the information or self-correction of free market forces such as a stock exchange. A critical examination of the Dataist dogma is likely to be not only the greatest scientific challenge of the twenty-first century, but also the most urgent political and economic project. His explanations are both terrifying & accurate, especially in the practical applications & trends we are now seeing. Our leaders aren't any longer. They're increasingly reacting to older & older crisis as technology races past their understanding. The DMCA lauded as such an amazing piece of legislation in 1998 immediately had to be amended when they realized they'd outlawed all computers on private & corporate networks since the original language of the bill stated that any computer that didn't show its actual IP address was illegal. That such a huge, obvious flaw could make it into law is practically criminal & yet things have only gotten worse. When religion lost its ability to lead, it became reactionary & has lost its hold. Will politics & democracy become obsolete soon? Shouldn't they? Can we honestly say that the choice between Clinton, Sanders, Johnson, or Trump made any sense? Will we even survive Kim Jong-il or Putin? (see comment 5) Censorship used to rely on blocking information flows, but now it relies on obfuscating it by deluging us with spun data as in the Cambridge Analytica example above. The scariest thing about dataism is not what it will do to us in the short term - it might really be a good thing - but that it doesn't require any humans in the long run. As Harari points out, we're better data creators & processors than chickens, but we could easily be supplanted. The dataist will point out how much more efficient & better our lives can be if we simply share our information, the more, the better for us. Intelligent algorithms can then use it. He uses his car as an example. He only uses it 1 hour per day commuting to & from work, so it is a huge expense & waste of resources. He doesn't know enough to coordinate with the millions that live around him, each of whom also own cars, to share one, but if everyone let the system always know when & where they wanted to go an intelligent algorithm could do so. The only cost would be his privacy. Ditto with medicine. (See comment 5) He ends fantastically: If we think in term of months, we had probably focus on immediate problems such as the turmoil in the Middle East, the refugee crisis in Europe and the slowing of the Chinese economy. If we think in terms of decades, then global warming, growing inequality and the disruption of the job market loom large. Yet if we take the really grand view of life, all other problems and developments are overshadowed by three interlinked processes: 1. Science is converging on an all-encompassing dogma, which says that organisms are algorithms, and life is data processing. 2. Intelligence is decoupling from consciousness. 3. Non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms may soon know us better than we know ourselves. These three processes raise three key questions, which I hope will stick in your mind long after you have finished this book: 1. Are organisms really just algorithms, and is life really just data processing? 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 know ourselves? Highly recommended in both text & audio. As with his other book, this is great to listen to, but a text edition is a great way to check & ponder his many points. As you can tell, I found much to ponder here & even so, I left out a lot. Yeah, it's fantastic.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mehmet

    Genellikle insanlar Hayvanlardan Tanrılara - Sapiens: İnsan Türünün Kısa Bir Tarihi ile kıyaslamış bu kitabı. Fakat ben bu kitabı herhangi bir kitapla kıyaslamadan kendi içinde değerlendirmek istiyorum. Zira bir tür Popüler Bilim, ütopya ve politik eleştiri arasında kalan bambaşka bir kitap. Popüler bilim ile ilgilenenleri bu alanda yazılmış harikulade kitaplar olan; Cosmos, Üçüncü Şempanze, Cennetin Ejderleri gibi kitaplara yönlendirmek istiyorum. Dataizm vb. ütopik konulara ilgi duyanlar ise İ Genellikle insanlar Hayvanlardan Tanrılara - Sapiens: İnsan Türünün Kısa Bir Tarihi ile kıyaslamış bu kitabı. Fakat ben bu kitabı herhangi bir kitapla kıyaslamadan kendi içinde değerlendirmek istiyorum. Zira bir tür Popüler Bilim, ütopya ve politik eleştiri arasında kalan bambaşka bir kitap. Popüler bilim ile ilgilenenleri bu alanda yazılmış harikulade kitaplar olan; Cosmos, Üçüncü Şempanze, Cennetin Ejderleri gibi kitaplara yönlendirmek istiyorum. Dataizm vb. ütopik konulara ilgi duyanlar ise İnsanlık 2.0: Tekilliğe Doğru Biyolojisini Aşan İnsan kitabına yönelebilir. Sapiens kitabında derin başlayan, sonra da gizleme gereği duymadığı Kapitalizm övgüsünü bu kitapta biraz da kafa karışıklığı hissettiğim; liberalizm eleştirisine dönüştürmüş. Yer yer komünizme gönderme yapmayı da eksik etmemiş. Harari'nin bende en fazla antipati uyandıran tavrı; bütün biliminsanları adına konuşarak "biz... başarsak da... konusunda.... yapmaktayız" gibi cümleler kurması. Zannedersiniz müspet bilimin, her türlü teknolojik gelişmenin sözcüsü kesilmiş Harari. Özgür iradenin olmadığını iddia ettiği bölüm dışında hiçbir özgün iddia, metin, tartışma ya da bilgi göremedim. Kitapta anlatılan konuların çoğu kendisinden çok önce işlenmiş. Bu bölümün bana özgün gelmesi de benim cahilliğimden kaynaklı olabilir zira bugüne kadar bu tartışmalara böyle bir bakış açısıyla bakıldığına (yani isteklerimizi yerine getirmede özgür olsak da isteklerimizi biz seçmedik) hiç şahit olmamıştım. Bu kitap okunmalı mı? Bence okunacaklar sırasında çok sonralarda. Hatta, Sapiens'ten bile sonralarda olması gerekir. Zira ne anlatmaya çalıştığını kendisi bile bilmiyor bu kitapta. Bütünlük yok, verilmek istenen mesaj anlaşılır değil. Ordan burdan derlenen bilgiler dışında özgün bir bilgi de yok.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ram

    Now that the Human kind, in the 20th century, has managed to control famine, plague and war, it is ready for it's next challenge. According to Yuval Noah Harari, the main reason that humans have managed to attain such a strong position in this planet is their ability to believe in "imaginary orders" such as countries, religion, money etc. Many believe that we have something in us that could be called a soul or consciousness or similar but it is not clear that this exists and our behavior could po Now that the Human kind, in the 20th century, has managed to control famine, plague and war, it is ready for it's next challenge. According to Yuval Noah Harari, the main reason that humans have managed to attain such a strong position in this planet is their ability to believe in "imaginary orders" such as countries, religion, money etc. Many believe that we have something in us that could be called a soul or consciousness or similar but it is not clear that this exists and our behavior could possibly be only a result of complex algorithms, without free will (or possibly random will but not free).It seems, humans are rapidly managing to develop algorithms that do things better. So many fields in our life are replaced. Travel agents, computer programmers and in the near future drivers, lawyers and possibly artists, composers and more. We may find ourselves in a world that we decide things like who to vote for, who to love, what to do and practically any decision with the help of algorithms. In his very distinctive and persuasive style, the author uses his vast sociological and historical knowledge and tries to predict what will be the direction that the human race will take in the 21st century. On the way, he explains how humanism and other "religions" changed the way humans think and may change the destination of humans. I loved this book. I am not sure that I can capture the impression this book made on me in a review and I am not really going to try. I really think that this book is a must read for all people , and specifically people who want to understand humans and human society.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amirography

    A great and ausual book. When considering many more books about the same topic, "how we are going to be", Harari's arguments are more than satisfying and his reasonings are both terrifying and educated. I believe his warnings were the most accurate, I could have found on the topic of technologies and how they may be a danger to us. So there are so many people, like Hawkins that try to warn us about future AI uprising, which any sci-fi author from 90's could counter argue effectively and easily. A great and ausual book. When considering many more books about the same topic, "how we are going to be", Harari's arguments are more than satisfying and his reasonings are both terrifying and educated. I believe his warnings were the most accurate, I could have found on the topic of technologies and how they may be a danger to us. So there are so many people, like Hawkins that try to warn us about future AI uprising, which any sci-fi author from 90's could counter argue effectively and easily. However, Harari's predictions are actually possible and are risen from just fear of unknown. Rather his warnings are based on what we know is possible. I adore and recommend this book, as a great sequel to "Sapiens" by Harari.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linh

    Tương lai của con người ra sao: siêu nhân, á thánh dưới dạng những con người gắn chíp, có thể tái tạo và gần như là bất tử, hay con người sẽ chỉ là nô lệ cho Dữ liệu giáo (Dataism), bị vứt đi, vặt vãnh trong quá trình xây dựng một hệ thốn thông tin kết nối mọi thứ? Con người là gì? Là một cá thể, có ý chí hoặc linh hồn riêng, hay chỉ là một tập hợp những mớ hổn đỗn các algorithm khác nhau, mâu thuẫn nhau, tự làm hòa với nhau, và cái gọi là tự do ý chí (free will) chỉ là một ảo giác? Và nếu như qu Tương lai của con người ra sao: siêu nhân, á thánh dưới dạng những con người gắn chíp, có thể tái tạo và gần như là bất tử, hay con người sẽ chỉ là nô lệ cho Dữ liệu giáo (Dataism), bị vứt đi, vặt vãnh trong quá trình xây dựng một hệ thốn thông tin kết nối mọi thứ? Con người là gì? Là một cá thể, có ý chí hoặc linh hồn riêng, hay chỉ là một tập hợp những mớ hổn đỗn các algorithm khác nhau, mâu thuẫn nhau, tự làm hòa với nhau, và cái gọi là tự do ý chí (free will) chỉ là một ảo giác? Và nếu như quả thực là thế thì tương lai của con người sẽ đi tới đâu khi mà với các dữ liệu lớn, machine learning và trí tuệ nhân tạo ngày càng phát triển, các algorithm sẽ hiểu về bạn hơn cả chính bản thân bạn (và tất nhiên là vượt xa những người thân thiết nhất của bạn). Và những gì sẽ đến khi mà trí tuệ và nhận thức sẽ không còn ở bên nhau? Đã xa rồi cái thời con người thở phào nhẹ nhõm khi Kasparov đánh bại Deep Blue và giờ đây con người đang ở ngưỡng không còn có cửa nào để có thể thông minh hơn máy (cho dù vẫn chế tạo ra máy). Và làm sao có thể biết chắc được là AI không tạo ra consciousness hay ngay cả khi không có consciousness, chúng vẫn có thể hủy diệt lại loài người? Tương lai của loài người chưa bao giờ khó biết như hiện nay, với sự cáo chung của chủ nghĩa nhân văn, lấy con người làm trung tâm, là lý do cho mọi hành động, cũng như chủ nghĩa tự do, coi ý chí và ý nguyện cá nhân là thứ cao quý nhất, có ý nghĩa nhất. Nào ai biết được loài người sẽ ra sao vào năm 2050 hay 2100? Yuval Noah Harari vẫn hết sức uyên bác, vô cùng thuyết phục và hóm hỉnh trong cuốn này của ông, sau cuốn Sapiens lừng danh. Một hạn chế có lẽ là văn phong hơi dài dòng, nhiều ý lặp đi lặp lại một cách không cần thiết.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brian Yahn

    Sapiens was a great book in that it explained, briefly, what you need to know to understand humans today. Homo Deus attempts to do the same thing, but for the future. It let's you know the important technical advances that could have huge implications to society: specifically technologies that could end liberalism, humanism, and capitalism. It's hard to imagine a current world without one of those things. But in the not-to-distant future, all three of them could be gone. Harari makes the case that Sapiens was a great book in that it explained, briefly, what you need to know to understand humans today. Homo Deus attempts to do the same thing, but for the future. It let's you know the important technical advances that could have huge implications to society: specifically technologies that could end liberalism, humanism, and capitalism. It's hard to imagine a current world without one of those things. But in the not-to-distant future, all three of them could be gone. Harari makes the case that technology has, objectively, made the world a better place over time. And we shouldn't worry that the coming technologies will turn that trend around. Objectively, Harari argues, the future will be better. But the big question is: would the future be better off without humans? Do humans really matter to the future? And if we don't, what becomes of us? Like Sapiens, Homo Deus is an incredibly enlightening read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pavle

    Harari je simpa lik. Kako je dospeo na listu bestselera, svetsku a i ovu našu, pojma nemam. Nije ovo toliko kompleksno štivo – prirodnih nauka ima tek u „ja ti kažem, ti mi veruješ“ formi – ali nije ni populističko kakve su uglavnom knjige ovog tipa koje završe na tim nazovi uglednim pozicijama. Zanimljivo napisano, sa pregršt detalja i još više anegdota, ali za knjigu od 500str premalo se bavi onim što reklamira na naslovnici – spekulativnom pristupu budućnosti čovečanstva. Elem, to je možda ne Harari je simpa lik. Kako je dospeo na listu bestselera, svetsku a i ovu našu, pojma nemam. Nije ovo toliko kompleksno štivo – prirodnih nauka ima tek u „ja ti kažem, ti mi veruješ“ formi – ali nije ni populističko kakve su uglavnom knjige ovog tipa koje završe na tim nazovi uglednim pozicijama. Zanimljivo napisano, sa pregršt detalja i još više anegdota, ali za knjigu od 500str premalo se bavi onim što reklamira na naslovnici – spekulativnom pristupu budućnosti čovečanstva. Elem, to je možda nekih 150str. knjige, dok je ovo ostalo manjeviše prepričan put kako smo do ovde došli. I to nije nužno loše, štaviše, ali nije ni ono što se knjiga reklamira da jeste. Zamerio bih mu i što ne istražuje neke alternativne pristupe sa kojima se na ličnom nivou ne slaže, već samo protura svoj prilično impresivni stepen cinizma u prvi red. Nije da mu mnogo zameram, samo što bih voleo da je čačnuo malo i neke druge kanale. Prevod je pismen, ali mislio sam da smo evoluirali od potpune transkripcije imena kompanija (stvarno, ako prevedeš 23&me kao 23endmi, meni će u glavi biti 23 end me), a i da smo možda mogli da proverimo na vikipediji autora pre nego što Hararijevog muža prekrstimo u suprugu. 4+

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tanja Berg

    "Looking back, many think that the downfall of the pharaohs and the death of God were both positive developments. People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes." Knowing where we are is a prerequisite for having any idea of where we are going. Common fantasies is what put humans on top. Not only can we communicate, but we can also comminuticate about thing that exist only in our common imagination, such as "Looking back, many think that the downfall of the pharaohs and the death of God were both positive developments. People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes." Knowing where we are is a prerequisite for having any idea of where we are going. Common fantasies is what put humans on top. Not only can we communicate, but we can also comminuticate about thing that exist only in our common imagination, such as corporations, google and god. Science does not make ethical judgements, it's not able to give meaning to life. The past few hundred years have seen a human sentered religion taking place of more traditional religions, humanism. Humanism puts the human liberty and free will first, and individualism. Gone is collectivism and here and now is how you feel about something. I never considered humanism another religion. I didn't really equate the bill of human rights with the ten commandments. Yet humanism and the internal conflicts within almost tore the world apart in the 20th century. However, individual liberty is not likely to continue. Human value is likely to be surpassed. The future of the world is an algorithm. The author intends to shock and he does. Whatever your belief system is, he is likely to shake you. It certainly shook mine, even though I also read and loved "Sapiens: a brief history of humankind". I know now that, as I suspected, I will have been left behind within my lifetime.

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