What will our future look like? Terrifying, if you were to read Homo Deus by historian Yuval Noah Harari. Harari turns to the past to make a number of dark and disturbing predictions, here are some that grabbed our attention!
Rise of the “Useless Class”
Humans losing jobs to machines isn’t a new concept. We managed to adapt because we could always do something better than machines. But what if this isn’t true anymore?
“What will happen once algorithms outperform us in remembering, analysing and recognising patterns?”
Harari provides evidence of algorithms outperforming humans in a variety of jobs, even in creative work like composing music! He predicts that in this century, we will witness the creation of a useless class: “people devoid of any economic, political or even artistic value, who contribute nothing to the prosperity, power and glory of society.”
What will keep these people content and occupied? The book gives a few suggestions we never would have thought of.
Harari makes an interesting observation: “Twentieth-century medicine aimed to heal the sick. Twenty-first century medicine is increasingly aiming to upgrade the healthy.”
He predicts that humans will use bioengineering and artificial intelligence to upgrade human abilities, and naturally, these upgraded humans would be the ruling elite.
Today, the elite takes care of the poor because they are needed militarily and economically. When the soldiers and workers give way to algorithms, wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on upgrading a handful of superhumans? You’ll have to read the book to find out what a world run by superhumans could potentially look like.
The Death of Liberalism
Liberalism is based on the belief that humans have free will. That’s why our world revolves around individualism, human rights, democracy and the free market. But Harari gives us plenty of scientific proof that debunks the foundations of liberalism.
He predicts that everyday technology, activities and structures will eventually require no human free will. “Liberal habits such as democratic elections will become obsolete, because google will be able to represent even my own political opinions better than I can.”
And when this happens, “we—or our heirs—will probably require a brand-new package of religious beliefs and political institutions.”
We can only scratch the surface of what this book covers, borrow it to find out what’s in store for the human race!