What if you could predict the entire future of humanity? Of course, doing this exactly is not possible, but the way the human race has lived until today brings us revealing clues, which will be addressed in this summary of the book "Homo Deus", written by Yuval Noah Harari.
The author sought in the most distant past of humanity the traces of what makes us human and our search for perfection. Therefore, we will no longer be mere Homo Sapiens, but true Homo Deus.
And this process has already started, it is in practice right now. The future that the author presents is not as distant as we think, and at any moment we will see new ruptures. You need to be prepared for them.
Discover here, everything that the future probably holds for us and understand the paths that led humanity to become exactly what it is today. Continue reading to know more!
"Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow", originally written in Hebrew, is a book by bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari. With a broad view of the entire history of humanity, the author uses his knowledge and extensive research to create a complex narrative connecting the past to the future of humanity.
The book has 475 pages divided into 3 major chapters, which tell of some main disruptions in humanity's past.
Yuval Harari is an Israeli history professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, philosopher and writer. He became famous for his previous book, "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind", which aim to analyze humanity and its history in detail.
Both works, "Homo Deus" and "Sapiens", have already been published worldwide and are bestsellers. In addition to them, the author has also written "21 Lessons for the 21st Century", his most recent work.
Nowadays, Harari's research focuses on macro history, trying to understand the connection between history and biology, for example.
The book is recommended to understand the entire history of society, learning the roots of current problems and solutions. So, if you are a person who wants to be prepared for change, you are in the right place!
In this book is explained the impact of new researches and technologies in our behavior and society, suggesting some guidelines to follow in order to do not waste time.
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Almost without realizing it, humanity overcame challenges that seemed immense, and overcame some paradigms. It is not difficult to see this when we realized that 2, 000 years ago, disease, hunger and war were justified as divine punishments, insurmountable as long as the gods were angry.
However, according to Yuval Noah Harari, in the book "Homo Deus", all of that had changed at some point in the past hundreds of years. We started to have the cure and prevention of diseases that were previously lethal, as well as reducing the amount of war in favor of agreements.
And all this with technologies and human inventions.
Of course, this doesn't mean that we are done with humanitarian problems. There is still a lot of hunger, a lot of thirst, a lot of diseases. Despite that, we no longer see these problems as inevitable divine punishments.
Instead, we view each of these problems as a challenge, and we face it. As a society, we are no longer held hostage by the fear of the gods, nor even by the difficulties that the world imposes on us.
The author proposes 2 big questions that may be clues to the future:
They are difficult to answer, perhaps the next step for man, according to the book, is to transform ourselves into a homo god.
In this section of the book "Homo Deus", it is explained that you may not have realized it yet, but we have already started to fight against death. From the moment we try to overcome old age more and more, we are looking for a way to immortality.
Modern man no longer sees death as something impossible to overcome.
Today, man sees that death is simply a paraphernalia of biological events, which can be avoided in the future, if we discover how.
Happiness will probably be another concern for humanity when we extinguish hunger, disease and wars.
Since the beginning of humanity, we have debated what happiness would be. How to get it? What is the absolute secret?
According to Yuval, the last century has begun to give us scientific certainty that happiness is a purely biochemical result. This means that the happiness formula would not be in the context, but in the chemistry of the brain.
For the author, one thing is a fact: both the search for absolute happiness and the search for immortality will take us to a level of gods on the planet Earth.
When we reach that level, our technology will likely provide almost absolute power.
In this chapter, Yuval Noah Harari states that the natural phases of transformation on Earth took millions and millions of years. Meanwhile, in less than 100, 000 years, the human race has already driven thousands of species to extinction and completely transformed the face of the world.
The book "Homo Deus" goes further: it shows us that, in front of animals, we have already posed ourselves as true Homo Deus. We think we are superior and thus justify some things that would sound barbaric if they were done on a human.
The goal here is not to question whether we have more or less value. But to show where that thought came from. We think we are more important because we are stronger.
This becomes even more clear when we think about the political and social construction of the world. According to Harari, the life of an American, for example, seems to worth more than the life of someone from a vulnerable country.
The death of an American can generate endless protests around the world. In contrast, a death of an Afghan, most likely will not generate protest even in his own city.
Here the author raises a strong perspective: we humans are not different from other animals.
So, like them, are we incapable of empathy? Is everything we feel pure instinct?
These are questions, not absolute answers. But, it is important to start thinking about issues like these.
Another major transformation in humanity quoted in the book "Homo Deus" was when we started telling stories. Storytelling is what moves us.
In the most distant past, we tell little stories about gods. Legends. Mythological and magical figures that served to explain the world.
But our communication really changed with the invention of writing.
Then, the little stories became great narratives, full of effects, lessons, solutions and punishments.
Writing also allowed us to register the world in an exact way. It replaced, in many ways, the act of needing to remember everything just using one's own memory.
It was from writing that we saw the emergence of major religions. Writing allowed us to create a complex story, passing ideas and precepts through it.
Many people had their own tales described. The most famous of them is the Holy Bible.
To the author Yuval Noah Harari, there is no doubt that religious stories are just stories. Something between fiction and rereading reality.
However, they are also not entirely useless, and may have played an important role in uniting people in favor of an ideal.
In other words, the main role of religion was to make humans cooperate with each other.
From then on, humanity's great leap is still in effect today. It is an invention that came with writing and paper: the contract.
Our whole life is governed by contracts, even when we don't realize it. From the day we are born until we die, we have contracts.
Contracts are almost like a picture of our own success, our conquest of power and that says a lot about the society we are in.
As Harari says in the book, in the last few decades we have seen movements that almost replace the religions themselves. The humanist and liberal movement, for example, preach the complete freedom and individuality of each, and this is a requirement in democracies worldwide.
Free will be the flagship of this new society. However, we don't have time to question whether freedom really exists, and that is what the author highlights.
After all, humanity has several parallel powers, such as the media and science itself. Why do we choose a car of one color and not another?
We do, in fact, follow our desires, and this in a way looks like free will. But we must ask ourselves whether these desires are ours in the first place.
This can lead to complex questions, which even deal with who we are or the meaning of life.
If we don't know if what we want is really our wish, how will we know who we are? If there is no real free will, what is the meaning of life?
In such a scenario, it is easy to imagine that we will need more precise answers in the coming decades. Many of them will come in the form of thoughts close to that of religion, such as liberalism.
The author's bet is that these next thoughts will come from science itself, more precisely from within the research laboratories.
Science, suggested by Yuval Noah Harari, will promise salvation by changing genes and algorithms. We will be techno-humans living a true religion of data.
Of course, genetic changes like that today are frightening and are not so well accepted. The current thinking is that the entire human body is a divine creation, and because of this perfection, should not be modified.
However, the book "Homo Deus" shows that it is possible that even this thought will fall to the point where human desire is each time becoming better, more efficient.
The author teaches that the future of the world is the increasing appreciation of data, as in a religion.
If humans have gone so far as to be able to refine the study through data, it is quite possible that they will become the main guide for human decisions going forward.
The case is that the main defenders of what the author calls "dataism", the valorization of mathematical data, already believe that humans are no longer able to generate knowledge through data by themselves. The amount of information is very large, and the human mind can no longer handle it.
Such an efficient analysis should be done, then, by machines and algorithms, which will do all the data processing and generate knowledge and decisions from that.
Said that, we are starting from an era in which free will is overvalued, to one where we will probably have decisions made not by us, but by machines based on numbers.
There is a close relationship between human beings and technology. Tom Chatfield, author of "How to Thrive in the Digital Age" says that in every age, man has shaped new technological tools and these, in turn, shaped their behavior.
Jay Samit, in the book "Disrupt You!", separates a chapter to talk about the impact of disruption in the Age of Collectivity. Collaborating collectively can unleash a new disruptive power.
Finally, Paula Marques and Ricardo Cayolla, in "The Super-Human Age", explains that the future will belong to those who learn more skills and know how to agree with creativity. However, they stress that the most important thing is "how to learn", as we must develop the ability to learn.
So, what did you think of this book's predictions for the future? Are you ready to see the many disruptions that human technology will generate? Rate this summary and don't forget to leave your feedback! Your opinion is our source of improvement!
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