Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow  

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"If you took all the people in the world and put them on a large set of scales, their combined mass would be about 300 million tons. If you then took all our domesticated farm animals—cows, pigs, sheep and chickens—and placed them on an even larger set of scales, their mass would amount to about 700 million tons. In contrast, the combined mass of all surviving large wild animals — from porcupines and penguins to elephants and whales—is less than 100 million tons." --Yuval Noah Harari, cited in [1] see Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (Hebrew: ההיסטוריה של המחר) is a book written by Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari, professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The book was first published in Hebrew in 2015 by Dvir publishing; the English-language version was published in September 2016 in the United Kingdom and in February 2017 in the United States.

As with its predecessor, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Harari recounts the course of history while describing events and the individual human experience, along with ethical issues in relation to his historical survey. However, Homo Deus deals more with the abilities acquired by humans (Homo sapiens) throughout their existence, and their evolution as the dominant species in the world. The book describes mankind's current abilities and achievements and attempts to paint an image of the future. Many philosophical issues are discussed, such as the human experience, individualism, human emotion and consciousness.

Contents

Summary

The book sets out to examine possibilities of the future of Homo sapiens. The premise outlines that during the 21st Century, humanity is likely to make a significant attempt to gain happiness, immortality and God-like powers. Throughout the book, Harari openly speculates various ways that this ambition might be realised in the future based on the past and present.

Homo sapiens conquers the world

  • The first part of the book explores the relationship between humans and other animals, exploring what led to the former's dominance.

Homo sapiens gives meaning to the world

  • Since the verbal/language revolution some 70,000 years ago, humans live within an "intersubjective reality", such as countries, borders, religion, money and companies, all created to enable large-scale, flexible cooperation between different individual human beings. Humanity is separated from animals by humans' ability to believe in these intersubjective constructs that exist only in the human mind and are given force through collective belief.
  • Humankind's immense ability to give meaning to its actions and thoughts is what has enabled its many achievements.
  • Harari argues that humanism is a form of religion that worships humankind instead of a god. It puts humankind and its desires as a top priority in the world, in which humans themselves are framed as the dominant beings. Humanists believe that ethics and values are derived internally within each individual, rather than from an external source. During the 21st century, Harari believes that humanism may push humans to search for immortality, happiness, and power.

Homo sapiens loses control

  • Technological developments have threatened the continued ability of humans to give meaning to their lives; Harari suggests the possilibity of the replacement of humankind with a super-man, or "homo deus" (human god) endowed with abilities such as eternal life.
  • The last chapter suggests the possibility that humans are algorithms, and as such Homo sapiens may not be dominant in a universe where big data becomes a paradigm.
  • The book closes with the following question addressed to the reader:
    "What will happen to society, politics and daily life when non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we know ourselves?"




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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