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Harari's Outlook

His basic theory states that it is our capacity for telling stories that has made us great. ...
“The algorithms will be so good in making decisions for us that it would be madness not to follow their advice,” Harari writes. ...
Readers of Sapiens, in which the author lambasts mankind for its callous destruction of the environment, will not be surprised to hear that he thinks our future looks fairly bleak.

“What is happening at the moment is that the narrative is collapsing,” he says. ...
The other reason for our insecurity is, of course, technology, which is causing rapid, disorientating change that our creaking institutions simply cannot accommodate.

“The pace and volume of the data flow in the world today is such that voters are no longer capable of handling it,” he says. “Neither the voters nor the governments are able to make sense of what is happening. So obviously they become very insecure.” ...

“Part of the crisis we are seeing today — like with Brexit, like with Trump in America — is that people are beginning to sense that they are losing power,” he says. “People then make the mistake of blaming ‘Brussels’ or the ‘Washington elite’. This is wrong. Nobody really understands what’s happening now in the world, and nobody is in control.”

The only people with the faintest idea what is going on are in Silicon Valley, which is where he believes the religions of tomorrow are developing.

“I’m interested in the visions, in the ideology and the mythology that these people are creating. I am critical. I think many of them are quite naive, because they have no background in philosophy and history, so you get the kind of visions that you expect engineers to produce. ...

The changes Harari outlines, and our failure to adapt to the pace of them, could have some fairly terrifying consequences. He sees huge job loss due to automation as highly likely and “very scary”, resulting in the creation of a “useless class” comprising billions of people devoid of any economic or political value. ...

Harari believes that this quest for immortality will lead us to upgrade ourselves biologically. ...

Human brains might be connected to the internet, able to call on its wealth of knowledge simply by thinking about it. Our brains could become connected to one another, too — an internet of minds. ...

In a world where almost all jobs are automated, the elites will have little use for the masses. Biological upgrades will not be shared equally, potentially creating a “cognitive elite” that will view the rest of mankind with the same superiority that sapiens once reserved for Neanderthals. ...

If Harari is even half right about all of this, then our age of instability may just be beginning. But like all the best prophets, he is delivering his warning just in time for us to change our ways. “It’s not something that will happen in thousands of years,” he says. “It is a timescale of decades, not millennia. If we want to do something about it, we should start thinking about it now. In 30 years it will be too late.”
- Josh Glancy, The seer of Silicon Valley: Yuval Noah Harari, The Sunday Times, August 21 2016







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