Humanity has never been less violent, susceptible to plague, or at risk of famine than it is right now, asserts historian Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, 2011). So what will Homo sapiens strive toward next? According to Harari: immortality, by way of death-conquering drugs; bliss, via biochemical manipulations engineered to induce "everlasting pleasure"; and divinity, which we will achieve through biotechnology enhancements and the "brave new religions" of Silicon Valley. He also tackles the "time bomb" of modern humanism, which, along with the "liberal package of individualism, human rights, democracy and the free market," may be the seeds of humanity's undoing. Careful to classify his arguments as "possibilities rather than prophesies," Harari's many predictions about the future of humanity toggle between solemn and starry-eyed, depending on the reader's perspective. It's sometimes hard to tell what kind of book it is, given the array of disciplines Harari covers in depth. But like humanity itself, it's an intelligent, panoramic, if sometimes messy assemblage of where we've been and what's to come. Best for readers who crave big ideas. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
Having assessed humanity's past in the internationally best-selling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Hebrew University professor Harari looks to the future. He argues that with the age-old scourges of famine, plague, and war now under control, we're on to the next stage: Homo Deus. With a 200,000-copy first printing.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.
Library Journal Reviews
Harari (history, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) recaps the cognitive, agricultural, industrial, and scientific revolutions from Sapiens, his previous best seller, to highlight a shift in the locus of divinity, from shared beliefs about nature to gods to social systems and, ultimately, to humankind itself. He posits that current efforts to cure disease, disability, and death will result in biological augmentation that creates a human species beyond Homo sapiens and that this will necessarily happen along socioeconomic lines. Humanistic systems currently holding sway, such as capitalism or socialism, will disappear if humans no longer are subject to scarcity or disease. Accepting the current idea that all change is controlled by deterministic algorithms (social, biological, or computational), Harari foresees a future of data-driven technological utilitarianism if we continue to off-load decision-making responsibility to artificial intelligence. This work is speculative, obviously, and posits that if something is technologically possible, we will try it, not that we will succeed. It leaves readers with questions about consciousness and conscience and whether unrestricted data flow will necessarily lead to wisdom. VERDICT While still appealing to those of a political, historical, or anthropological bent who enjoyed Sapiens, this title will be equally thought provoking to biologists and technological futurists. [See Prepub Alert, 8/8/16.]—Wade M. Lee, Univ. of Toledo Lib.
Copyright 2017 Library Journal.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Harari (Sapiens), professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, provocatively explores what the future may have in store for humans in this deeply troubling book. He makes it clear that it is impossible to predict the future, so claims to be offering "possibilities rather than prophecies"—and builds a strong case for a very specific outcome. The future to which he affords the greatest probability is, in many ways, a dystopian world in which humanism has given way to "dataism"—the belief that value is measured by its contribution to information transfer—and humans play an insignificant role in world affairs or have gone extinct. The roles humans play are diminishing, Harari argues, because increasingly our creations are able to demonstrate intelligence beyond human levels and without consciousness. Whether one accepts Harari's vision, it's a bumpy journey to that conclusion. He rousingly defends the argument that humans have made the world safer from disease and famine—though his position that warfare has decreased remains controversial and debatable. The next steps on the road to dataism, he predicts, are through three major projects: "immortality, happiness, and divinity." Harari paints with a very broad brush throughout, but he raises stimulating questions about both the past and the future. (Mar.)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.
In his critically acclaimed international bestseller Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari explained how humankind came to rule the planet. In Homo Deus, he examines humanity’s future, offering a vision of tomorrow that at first seems incomprehensible but soon looks undeniable: humanity will lose not only its dominance, but its very meaning.
Over the past century, humankind has managed to do the impossible: turn the uncontrollable forces of nature—namely, famine, plague, and war—into manageable challenges. Today more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists, and criminals combined. We are the only species in earth’s long history that has single-handedly changed the entire planet, and we no longer expect any higher being to mold our destinies for us.
What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? What destinies will we set for ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams, and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century, from overcoming death to creating artificial life. But the pursuit of these very goals may ultimately render most human beings superfluous. So where do we go from here? And how can we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? We cannot stop the march of history, but we can influence its direction.
Future-casting typically assumes that tomorrow, at its heart, will look much like today: we will possess amazing new technologies, but old humanist values like liberty and equality will still guide us. Homo Deus dismantles these assumptions and opens our eyes to a vast range of alternative possibilities, with provocative arguments on every page, among them:
- The main products of the twenty-first-century economy will not be textiles, vehicles, and weapons but bodies, brains, and minds.
- While the industrial revolution created the working class, the next big revolution will create the useless class.
- The way humans have treated animals is a good indicator for how upgraded humans will treat us.
- Democracy and the free market will both collapse once Google and Facebook know us better than we know ourselves, and authority will shift from individual humans to networked algorithms.
- Humans won’t fight machines; they will merge with them. We are heading toward marriage rather than war.
This is the shape of the new world, and the gap between those who get on board and those left behind will be larger than the gap between industrial empires and agrarian tribes, larger even than the gap between Sapiens and Neanderthals. This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.
Examines the civilized world's achievements in controlling famine, disease, and war while making provocative predictions about the evolutionary goals of the twenty-first century. - (Baker & Taylor)
The New York Times best-selling author of Sapiens examines the civilized world's phenomenal achievements in the areas of famine, disease and war while making provocative predictions about the evolutionary goals of the 21st century. 200,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
Official U.S. edition with full color illustrations throughout.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.
Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.
What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.
With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future. - (HARPERCOLL)