Homo Deus is not the usual kind of book I would read. I’m a lover of fiction first and foremost. However, following My read of The Seven Daughters of Eve earlier this year I have become more interesting in this style of none fiction writing.
The book looks at the subject of ourselves Homo Sapiens and how we are evolving in the modern world. It’s main concept is the idea that we are giving ourselves ‘God like’ status. The topic is surprisingly wide ranging from the idea of meddling with DNA to create a perfect child, through to our status in the Animal Kingdom.
It opens up many questions which perhaps one wouldn’t think about normally. This ranges from why we think we have the hierarchy above other animals to how we would feel if we created superhumans I.e Artificial Intelligence who may one day turn on us as we have turned on animals.
This isn’t religious zealoting though or even conspiracy theories. Far from it. Yuval Noah Harari presents the cold clear facts in a way which makes you sit back and think ‘wow’ why didn’t I know about this already??? That was my precise reaction when I discovered in one chapter that you can actually BUY a mind reading helmet.
Harari explores the concept of immortality in various different concepts. From the idea of curing disease ‘Doctor what is wrong with me? The doctor is likely to say ‘well, you have the flu.’ Or ‘you have tuberculosis’ or ‘you have cancer.’ But the doctor will never say ‘you have death.’ He then moves on to look at the people who actually believe they can become immortals and its terrifyingly real and serious with big household names backing the movement. ‘Google has recently appointed another immortality true-believer, Bill Maris, to preside over the Google Ventures investment fund. Maris said. ‘If you ask me today, is it possibly to live to be 500 the answer is yes.’ Maris backs up his brave words with a lot of hard cash. Google Ventures is investing 36% of its $2 billion portfolio in life science start ups.’
Harari then goes on to look at the concept of a soul and how people cling to religion and refute Darwin’s evolution theorem because they dare not think of a life where the soul does not remain after the body dies.
Harari targets philosophy, myth, many different religions and the reign of science as well as pointing out just how little we realise just how good we’ve got it compared to those who came before us. It is clear particularly by the pages and pages of references that Harari has spent much time and research and producing such an eloquent look into our future as a species. Let me tell you something, it beggars belief!
All in all this is an eye opening, articulately written and engaging book which presents us with the question ‘if dataism succeeds in conquering the world what will happen to us humans?’