Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Huval Noah Harari - a Review

"Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" is a very well written book, a sequel to Yuval Noah Harari's magnificent "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind". The writer's accessible way of explaining the technical and societal trend and unmistakable destination where humanity is heading to I found to be exhilarating but sometimes frightening too. It is fearsome to think about a world where humanity as we know of does not exist, but supplanted by unconscious intelligence, far superior than human beings could ever imagined to be.

To reach his striking conclusion Harari showed how we treat other animals with utter indifference toward their pain and sufferings, even farm animals for food as if only for that reason their existence is justified. Humanity boasts its pureness, its love toward goodness, but these goodness does not apply to the animals as we treat them having lesser intelligence. As the writer argues, when we reach that inevitable point when artificial machines far outpace and supersede human intelligence and effectiveness, then wouldn't it be the similar scenario when humanity itself be considered as utterly useless species that can no longer provide any benefits to the improvement of overall intelligence? Then why humanity would be needed? As long as the overall networked data processing system is intact and it expands into farthest corner of our galaxy and even conquering the entire universe and beyond (multiverses), who would miss the pesky sapiens?

Perhaps no one. As I read this thoughtful book a sadness comes over quite naturally. All of our collective history, consciousness, dreams, arts, music, fine literature, our constant struggles to better humanity's progress, our undying love toward our families, friends, and even to people who we don't know and reside in war ravaged lands or poverty stricken villages, these all will simply vanish one day in the giant scheme of an unconscious master intelligence.

Or, perhaps as the writer points out, that this book though provides plausible scenarios, is not the final words about humanity's progress and its destination. Maybe, the best minds of humanity can see the unsettling eventuality and will make sure that the churning algorithm, the initial starting blocks of artificial intelligence will be a guiding force only for the betterment of humanity and not leading to its gloomy doom.