Yuval Noah Harari – 5 Imminent Changes To The World
His first book, Sapiens, was a mega-hit. It chronicles the rise and development of homo sapiens from the earliest proto-humans to present-day suit-wearing, smartphone-using man/woman. Sapiens captured the imaginations of millions.
After exploring homo sapiens history Harari moved on to the present and future. Homo Deus is a fascinating book of educated speculation. It ponders what the future may hold for homo sapiens. It is an exquisitely well-written tome that acts as a stark warning but also brims with positivity. It suggests many ways things could go wrong, but also many ways things may go right.
Yuval Noah Harari’s latest book, 21 Lessons For The 21st Century, is a book about the present. In it, he discusses the current state of the world and the challenges we face now and moving forward. He talks about what we can do now and recommends ways of being that will give us the best chance of self-actualizing, as individuals, and as a global family.
Some of the most interesting parts of Homo Deus and 21 Lessons For The 21st Century are Harari’s predictions for how the future will look.
Here are 5 imminent changes to the world, as predicted by Yuval Noah Harari.
Work As We Know It Will Not Exist
In the not very distant future many jobs will become obsolete. Artificial intelligence will do most jobs better, more efficiently, and more cheaply than any human being can.
Due to the exponential increase in the power of AI more and more jobs will be lost to robots as we move into the future. The notion of doing one job for an entire lifetime will be gone. Frequent career changes will become the norm and a necessity for every member of the workforce.
Education will need to change. No longer will people benefit from being taught to master one skill. Instead, the ability to adapt, grow and learn new skills constantly will become the most valuable asset a human can have.
Factory Farming Will Be Abolished (Finally!)
Many people see current factory farming as a sin that future generations will look back on and think “how could they stand by and let that happen?!” in the same way we look back on the Transatlantic slave trade and think “WTF were they thinking?!”.
Currently, animals in factory farms all over the world are kept in brutal conditions and live lives of agony and misery. Modern science proves that mammals and birds have emotions. We can’t tell exactly how it feels to be a pig or chicken but we do know that our human emotions developed over millions of years in the minds and bodies of the ancestors that we share with our avian and mammalian cousins.
Animals and humans have the same emotional centers in their brains. Animals long for company, to socialize and connect, and they demonstrate familial bonds. Factory farming denies animals even the most basic emotional nurturing.
This horror-show cannot go on. In the not very distant future, factory farming will go the way of slavery and cannibalism.
We Will Lose Our Desire To Keep Our Data Private
There will come a time in the not too distant future when AI algorithms will know us better than we can know ourselves.
As humans, we have multiples different selves competing for primacy inside our minds at any given moment. For example, there is the self that desires to eat a piece of cake. That self is doing battle with the self that wants to have a flat stomach. Etc etc. Humans often do not know their own minds.
Soon, AI will be so advanced that if it has access to all of the information it needs about us, it will be able to recommend to us the best way to live our lives.
Super-advanced AI will be able to a better job than we can of deciding for us who we should date, what job we should choose, who we should vote for.
When our own AI doctor can detect precancerous cells the moment they develop and immediately kill them – far faster than any human doctor ever could – it will be massively to our advantage to allow our AI doctor, career-advisor, or matchmaker full access to all of our personal information.
The Nation-State Will Cease To Exist
The three major threats to the future of humanity are; nuclear war, AI running out of control and turning on us, and climate change. None of these three problems can be tackled on the level of the traditional nation-state. None of these three problems respects arbitrary political borders, or even time-zones, mountains or oceans.
In order to solve the major problems facing humanity global cooperation is essential. Nations will become less relevant as issues become more and more global and global cooperation becomes completely essential.
According to Harari, speaking of Israel and France as meaningful entities may soon sound as antiquated as speaking of the Kingdoms of Sparta and Sussex.
Humanism Will Become An Obsolete ‘Religion’
Most agnostics, atheists and secular people today espouse themselves to be ‘humanists’. They get their moral values from a humanist code that respects the rights of all individuals to be treated with respect and to have certain inalienable human rights.
According to Harari, this notion of the rights of the individual presupposes that each human has an individual essence. But modern science has done away with that notion.
If we look inside the human mind, we find no soul, we don’t even find a ‘self’. We find systems and algorithms. Many of which operate below the level of consciousness and are totally outside our control. Many of which are in total contradiction of each other.
If humanism’s core foundation, namely the sanctity of the individual human being, is actually an illusion, then humanism may well go the way of other religions and become obsolete.
What will we replace humanism with in a world in which AI is more intelligent than any human and knows us better than we know ourselves? Only time will tell. But Yuval Noah Harari makes some fascinating predictions…