Books. Wenger on Harari

Yuval Harari has received quite a lot of attention after the 2014 English language publicantion of his book “Sapiens”.  The book is ana ttempt to use science to explain human history. It has a not very optimistic view of our future.

Humanity, Harari predicted, would engineer one more epochal event to rival the agricultural and scientific revolutions. Having evolved to exercise a measure of mastery over our environment, having begun to shape not only our planet, for better and worse, but also our biology, we stand, he argued, at the point of creating networked intelligences with a far greater capacity for reason than our own. The result was likely to be a lose-lose scenario for the species. Sapiens would disappear in the foreseeable future either because they had appropriated such mind-making powers as to become unrecognisable or because they had destroyed themselves through environmental catastrophe. Either way, judgment day was approaching.

harari has a sequel out called Homo Deus where he elaborates further on his core ideas aobut our future. Tim Adams reviews the book for _The Guardian at the above link.

Of course, this type of thing is not new. Humans seem to enjoy trashing ourselves as a species. We have done it for centuries, not least of all, with our alleged expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Al Wenger also wrote a book about the future, but it is decidedly more optimistic. It is interesting, therefore, to read Al’s review of Harari’s Homo Deus. Spoiler – Al thinks it sucks.

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