Some time ago I wrote a little piece about Harari. He’s a guy who writes about (for example) computer tech in an obvious reaction to what he learned from other “futurists”. So, the things he knows are already popularized even before he starts explaining them to the audience. That’s however not enough for keeping his storyline interesting, his spiel is to connect a couple of hot-items and extrapolate tech-advances of the combo.
This is how you get sci-fi like hackable humans. He starts out with simple shit like how the guy that sells you everything knows more about you then you know about yourself. This of course is not futurism, this has been the normal going seller-buyer interaction for about 100 years. Mixing in AI however makes it sound the next great thing. Something like women in tech (or stem). Reality is Taylor Lorenz as an official technology reporter.
I digress, it happens to me when confronted with smalltalk/gossip but enough about that Lorenz women.
Back to treasure: combine AI-know-it-all with bio-tech! Throw in some words: synapse, mRNA, nanotech and whoa man, you are back to the future! There is one small problem though: if you are even a little bit sentient, you realize you have a somewhat sound basic knowledge of one of the subjects at best. Other subjects, well we have been told that energy will be to cheap to meter in 20 years max for more than 50 years now, so how to get some realistic expectations? Specialists (fission or fusion in this case) prove not to set a reliable source of info per se. Now what?
Best thing to start with seems to me reading some of the knowable subjects Harari wrote about. It does not give any specific info, but it does give a general insight into his thinking.
That is a dud, but fortunately not for long: things really get exiting if you read some more!
You will read for example how fantastically peaceful this era is. This guy is living in Jerusalem. Draw a circle with a radius of 1500 miles with Jerusalem as center and you see one of the biggest shitstorms ever. This storm has been raging for some time, but got to F6 tornado ever since the petro-dollar came into existence.
Three things: 1) Madeleine Albright said in 1996 it was “worth it” for sanctions to kill 500.000 Iraqi children. Imagine a women telling you 500000 of your children dying, you should have done as we told you. 2) Have you got $ 300 to spare but you have everything, buy something you certainly have not had until now: go to Libya buy a person. Courtesy of NATO. 3) last but not least Harari is literally living under an Iron Dome.
I had to use that last one because of the literally. I got a 13 year old girl vibe from Yuval. He is so white, it’s as if he is a shining light! He is a thirteen year old white girl living in a gated community. I do not blame him for any of these 3 things. It is not personal. The liberal democratic world order made a mess of it ever since NATO could fight wars in three theaters and still get the price. (That is how generals and politicians experience it, fighting for prices.) The ones fighting and the people living in the theater? Well, it was worth it, sorry not sorry.
Democratic politicians (American and European) really accelerated the despoilment after the collapse of the soviet union. NATO has started more and more to behave as your local neighborhood mafia.
I digress again: Harari is not to blame for any of this. However he is to blame for not even being aware of the storm he is in.
Blokhin was a socially aware person: he did the difficult things and even though he was a teetotaler, allowed his subordinates to drink heavily, just to numb the strain. The strain of personally and physically intimidating, executing, assassinating and torturing countless people. He was a nice guy though, well thought of, beloved and a valued member of his society. Which was naturally a good society. Oh, um… wait, mess up I did. Wrong person, Harari did not describe Blokhin, a mass murderer for his society the USSR. He described a member of the Ache band (is tribe a forbidden word now?). The Ache band member lived as Blokhin did just not on a soviet scale. But Ache are good people, they were probably visited by a couple of graduate students of Margaret Mead. So the Ache didn’t fight, engage in power struggles, were into high-quality friendships (really, I swear I am not making this up). They smiled and laughed constantly and were happy. They did not do double ungood things like domineering people, unless sometimes sneakily from the back with a battle axe.
In order to paint a picture of a hunter-gatherer tribe Harari uses picture of the noble savage without even realizing he is doing something akin to critiquing the fashion-style and artistic sensibilities of NAZI camp guards (they were sharply dressed men, were they not).
I digress again, but just this once it turns out to be in line with Harari’s way of thinking.
NAZI’s, according to Harari they were very much in to science, just as about every other political system at the time. It’s just that they took things a bit further then the others, thereby totally discrediting the socio-biological sciences. Moreover, they were following the wrong science. Nowadays, we are more enlightened because we evolved so much further (because of technology) we are following the right science. So we can now let biological science decide little thingies as there are law (and probably order) and politics.
Did I tell you that the guy stated a number of times that soon there will be billions of USELESS PEOPLE.
Better wrap it up now before it gets to be a tirade.
Yuval Noah Harari is a Treasure. Why, I hear you think.
Well, the guy is as self-aware as a fruit fly, has the sensitivity of a baby shark, and the technological visionary capabilities of Taylor Lorenz (there is that tech-reporter again!).
He is demonstrably shitty in is own field of study. I am lazy but if you can sent links to scientific publications (even a PhD thesis will do for good sake) I might reconsider, but at the moment I must say that chances don’t look good.
This is why he is a treasure! This guy is the Taylor Lorenz of Pop-science, he is Carl Sagan squared if not cubed.
As long as people like him are held in a certain esteem, we can be in full conviction of the fact that we are living in a state of total abundance.
That is an important thing to know is it not, though not necessarily a good thing, it is a treasure.
After thought :
People are in need, lots of them are suffering but this is clearly a distribution choice.
If AI takes over the world humans will not be the first things that will be hacked, humanity will be. It obviously much easier to rearrange supply lines around the world, than it is to redistribute signals in a human being. The nerve system of humanity is already in state and connected to almost everything. If AI is rational we will immediately see certain changes in distribution. Maybe not, why should AI be rational?