It is rare that I find a book that is both thought provoking, interests a me both historically and scientifically, and is deeply unsettling in places.
The book is an argument of possibilities of the direction that humanity in the 21st Century is heading. I’m not familiar with the author’s previous book Sapiens, but I have been told is an account of how we have become who we are now; I’ll get around to it as it sounds just as interesting as this book. In comparison to his previous work though, Homo Deus is an argument for where humans may end up in the future based on the avenues being explored in the 21st Century.
His arguments are based on the notion of how a change from seeking authority from a supernatural deity to the ideas of humanism and the worth of the individual, has driven us forward into a war where humans will now seek immortality, where current biological theory has reduced us to mere algorithms, and that dataism, where big data corporations will be able to predict your decisions before you make them and then also make important decisions on your behalf, will become the new ‘religions’ and authority of the future.
Thankfully it was noted that this were just possibilities, and not the path we will definitely follow, because as interesting and as thought provoking aspects of the book were, the idea that humans who cannot afford to evolve into immortal super-humans will become a lower caste, useless to society, is horrifying. As much as I would like some of my health problems, mainly my asthma, solved for me, I wouldn’t really want immortality at the expense of those who cannot have the same opportunity.
It was also as equally unsettling to read that free will is just an abstract concept, and dataism could become our new authority in making decisions – or really having them made for you based on predicted behaviours and massive data analysis beyond the capacity of the human mind. I’m not a religious person, nor am I am atheist – I’ve always identified as agnostic, but I’m fairly decided that dataism is not the future I would want to have.
As unsettling as I found the book though, I really enjoyed reading it – I like having my thought’s provoked, and I can certainly say I will be thinking about the ideas in this book for a long time to come. I definitely recommend it.