Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Paperback – 23 Mar 2017
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"Homo Deus will shock you. It will entertain you. Above all, it will make you think in ways you had not thought before." (Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow)
"Shows us where mankind is headed in an absolutely clear-sighted and accessible manner" (Jarvis Cocker)
"Even more readable, even more important, than his excellent Sapiens" (Kazuo Ishiguro Guardian Books of the Year)
"An exhilarating book that takes the reader deep into questions of identity, consciousness and intelligence" (Observer)
"A brilliantly original, thought-provoking and important study of where mankind is heading." (Evening Standard)
"Spellbinding… a quirky and cool book, with a sliver of ice at its heart" (Guardian)
"An intoxicating brew of science, philosophy and futurism." (Mail on Sunday)
"Yuval Noah Harari is the most entertaining and thought-provoking writer of non-fiction at the moment. As with Sapiens, you finish the book feeling much wiser" (Matt Haig)
"It is thrilling to watch such a talented author trample so freely across so many disciplines... Harrari's skill lies in the way he tilts the prism in all these fields and looks at the world in different ways, providing fresh angles on what we thought we knew... the result is scintillating" (John Thornhill Financial Times)
"What elevates Harari above many chroniclers of our age is his exceptional clarity and focus." (Josh Glancy Sunday Times)
From the Inside Flap
Sapiens showed us where we came from. Homo Deus shows us where we're going. War is obsolete. You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict. Famine is disappearing. You are at more risk of obesity than starvation. Death is just a technical problem. Equality is out - but immortality is in. What does our future hold? Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling phenomenon Sapiens envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. 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? "Homo Deus will shock you. It will entertain you. Above all, it will make you think in ways you had not thought before". (Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast, and Slow).See all Product description
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The best thing about it is the way Harari effortlessly threads different fields of anthropology, biology, neuroscience, behavioural economics, economics, psychology, history and philosophy.
I would say that some of the terminology could be easier to grasp; his breakdown of the liberalism world view and dataism could go over the heads of the layman.
Harai is a visionary; and this book sets out a well-backed up case for a warning for humanity as we approach an age dominated by genetic modification, AI and super-humans.
While it may sound like the framework of any number of science fiction dystopias, the thinking behind it is extraordinary - and ultimately that is what this is, a vast thought experiment in which Harari presents a selection of possible futures that we may be walking blindly towards. He is at pains to also point out that the future will in all probability be none of these things, for it is almost impossible to understand a post-human universe unless you are, well, post-human. The ancestors of Homo Sapiens would have had no frame of reference to conceptualise what Homo Sapiens has become, and we have as little ability to picture what we will be in a hundred years time.
Where the book has real value is as a wake-up call. While the future direction may be speculation, the identification of the current trends that will take us there are eye-opening and evident all around. That we are embracing those trends as a species, on the individual and societal level, without any true understanding of their significance or potential outcomes is something that we can do something about. You can bet that governments and corporations are aware of these trends, and anybody who really wants to ‘take back control’ of this runaway world should make themselves aware too.
Harari's lucidity was established in Sapiens, and his broad knowledge and interests put him in touch with a distinct view of things. Homo Deus continues this, bringing unusual insights and provocative thoughts to understanding issues anew. The big idea is that technology is putting Homo Sapiens in a new position - humanism is about to be overcome by Techno Humanism (altered man) or supplanted by Dataism - the idea that humans are not special, but are carbon based algorithms about to be melded into a new, more effective data flow. If this sounds ridiculous, it won't by the time you finish Homo Deus. You will be riveted to your chair, unable to move for 400 pages.
That Harari is only 40, that he is a gay Israeli vegan historian who meditates for two hours a day, must contribute to his insightful view of the past and the future. he is a very unusual man, and I have no idea what he will write about in 5 years, let alone 20. If you have not read him, I urge you to read this and Sapiens as soon as you can - both are unusual, erudite and provocative.
It definitely requires concentration and willingness to put the book down and think. Some hard truths and major questions arising from the discourse, and a year down the line from completing this book the stark political landscape of 2017 is already lending credence to some of the darkest predictions made about the future of humanity. It’s in our hands to reverse the flow, but it can’t be done unless people understand and think clearly about the alternatives.
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