My impressions about the book Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

in #books6 years ago

There are few books out there that leave a truly lasting impression on me. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of great books, but most of them are in possession of my attention only as long as I am turning the pages, which is good enough in most cases and I don't ask for more from a book. Yet once in a while there comes a book that states questions that keep my mind occupied long after I've turned the last page.

One of those books is Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. It's a fascinating look into nature of our minds and prospects we have in front of us as we all March into the future. The book pictures a future that I would only describe as both utopian and dystopian at the same time. It also justifies predictions, grounding it in modern state of science, active research and interpolation from the past. Author's arguments are hard to contradict, which is for me a sign of a great amount of research work that went into the process of writing the book.

I was especially impressed with the chapter where author talks how enabling humans to control their own form (either through genetic engineering or through technical augmentation) will pose a question of what do we actually want to become. At some stage of our progress it seems inevitable that we will need to define our future selves through conscious decision. Is our moral compass strong enough to choose the most humane choice?

Right now humans are still driven by our evolutionary design, our every day behaviors are full of decisions guided by archaic reward/punishment systems formed thousands and millions of years ago. So what will happen if we reshape ourselves to fit the new world better? Surely we can't call the new beings humans anymore (hence the title of the book). But will those creatures be cruel or benign? Does question of good and evil even applies in this case?

Great books are great because of questions they present, so I will not try to answer those questions here, or relay authors answers. I definitely recommend this book to everybody who enjoys thinking about what the future holds.

And if you have already read it, let me know your opinion about it in comments.


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