September 5th, 2016

REVIEW – Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

I found Homo Deus to be quite an odd book and not quite what I was expecting. Nevertheless I really enjoyed it.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

From the first part of the book, I assumed the book would centre around technology and the impact on humans in the future. In fact this was just the last section of the book and it didn’t go into as much detail as I was expecting.

This book certainly gave me a lot of new things to think about. It centres around the concept of humanism, which puts humans and their desires as the highest priority. Technology, however, is developing so fast and could soon overtake humans in terms of intelligence. Sure, they may not have consciousness – but how important is consciousness really?

The book prophesies the potential replacement of humans with some sort of super-human, or Homo Deus – potentially a high ranking set of humans that have developed further because of technology. Or a species of non-humans, non-organics that take over the world. Leading humans to become useless and extinct.

I found the discussions of the mind and brain really interesting, however I did know a lot of the information already and felt it took up a large part of the book. I really just wanted to get into the discussion about technology and what Homo Deus meant!

Overall though, this is a really interesting book and still deserved a strong four-star rating. I immediately went out and bought Harari’s previous book Sapiens and can’t wait to get started.

Verdict: 4/5!

Thank you to Netgalley, Random House UK, Vintage Publishing and Harvill Secker for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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