My Review of Homo Deus

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harari is an historian, which is the lens he uses here to think about the future. What he attempts to do is to use the trajectory of human development in the past as a guide to how the future will go. For example, how people have related to animals in the past is taken as a forecast of how future “super-humans” will relate to us. On this point he is fairly comfortable that we have nothing to worry about. This is a book that is great at stimulating thought and throwing out questions, but not in providing answers. Whether that is a good or a bad thing you would have to decide, but in the course of reading I often stopped to just think about what he said, and about related ideas that came to mind because of what he said.

In the last chapter he goes in a direction somewhat similar to Kevin Kelly in What Technology Wants when Harari discusses what he calls “The Data Religion”, and this quote can give you an idea of what he is thinking here:

“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.”

This is definitely thought-provoking stuff, but I found this last chapter the least convincing part of the book.

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