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Homo Deus

Yuval Noah Harari

Felt apprehensive about recommending a best seller, but Harari’s work lives up to hype, and asks fantastic questions. 

My favorite moment with Harari came when opening his first book, Sapiens, and seeing he’d dedicated it to S.N. Goenka, the O.G. of Vipassana meditation. I hadn’t known Harari as a meditator, but especially after the closing chapter of Sapiens, one of the best I’ve read, it made perfect sense. 

Homo Deus turns his attention towards algorithms, liberalism, and sensation as the basic element of perception.

 

A few thoughts:

  • Among Harari’s provocative hypotheses is this: intelligence is decoupling from consciousness, so that intelligent (though non-conscious) robots & algorithms will perform most intelligence related tasks far better and quicker than humans. Not only will this put most of us out of jobs, but it’ll seriously devalue humans in the current economic system of valuation. 

  • Algorithms may soon understand us better than we understand ourselves…and what then?

    Do we listen to algorithms that aren’t tricked by our unconscious rationalizations, that see deeper into our biochemical signals than our conscious minds do? 

  • The heart of liberalism, that often repeated platitude: ‘listen to your inner voice’, your ‘true self’, etc., is false. Most people who earnestly look for a self find none. If anything, when we look for our inner self, we find multiple competing entities, beneath which contemplatives say lies nothing but emptiness, bare awareness uncontained by any self.