Monday, November 21, 2016

What I've Been Reading

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. This book is scheduled to be released in Feb'2017 but I found a pre-release (or international) copy on Amazon.

I think only Harari is capable of writing a sequel which is better than his original Sapiens. This man is really passionate about animal welfare and clearly communicates what miseries we bring to their lives (if you can call it a "life" which is worse than death).

I can start quoting this entire book but please get a copy and devour it. This is one of the most important books so far in this century.

In the early twenty-first century the train of progress is again pulling out of the station - and this will probably be the last train ever to leave the station called Homo Sapiens. Those who miss this train will never get a second chance. In order to get a seat on it, you need to understand twenty-first-century technology. And in particular the powers of biotechnology and computer algorithms. The main products of the twenty-first century will be bodies, brains and minds, and the gap between those who know how to engineer bodies and brains and those who do not will be far bigger than the gap between Dicken's Britain and the Mahdi's Sudhan. Indeed, it will be bigger than the gap between Sapiens and Neanderthals.

No investigation of our divine future can ignore our own animal past, or our relationships with other animals - because the relationship between humans and animals is the best model we have for future relationships between superhumans and humans. You want to know how super-intelligent cyborgs might treat ordinary humans?  Better start by investigating how humans treat their less intelligent animal cousins.


Democracy encourages us to believe in a democratic future; capitalism doesn't allow us to envisage a non-capitalist alternative; and humanism makes it difficult for us to imagine a post-human destiny. At most, we sometimes recycle past events and think about them as alternative futures. For example, twentieth century Nazism and communism serve as a blue print for many dystopian fantasies; and science-fiction authors use medieval and ancient legacies to imagine Jedi-knights and galactic emperors fighting it out with spaceships and laser guns.

This book traces the origins of our present-day conditioning in order to loosen its grip and enable us to think in far more imaginative ways about our future. Instead of narrowing our horizons by forecasting a single definitive scenario, the book aims to broaden our horizons and make us aware of much wider spectrum of options.

No comments: