Book Review: Homo Deus, by Harari, Y,N. Oxford U. Press, NY 2017

This book will be reviewed again, in more detail. This note is to recommend it to you as a useful and clear prediction of the near future that provides enough evidence and coherent comment to cause the reader to think beyond today, next week, or next year. It incisively predicts two possible scenarios for the world unless a natural catastrophe wipes out most of humanity.

The dust cover summarizes some of the more controversial of Harari’s views. He says that humans have become able to deal with war, deisease, and famine, but there are too many people. “While the industrial revolution created the working class, the next big revolution will create the useless class.” What to DO with too many people will be a major issue, though entertaining them, and “controlling” them so they will not want anything other than a “super-class” permits, is one way.

Still HOW this will work is NOT addressed, only that it will have to. How might the “super class” treat the useless class? He suggests that “The way humans have treated animals is a good indicator for how (super) humans will treat us.”

When much of the world’s population will become “useless” there will be two new religions, either “Technological Humanism” (It will give everyone their “heart’s desire” if it is possible through mental manipulation–or if not, eliminate the “more useless” ones.) Or “Dataism {In which our human mental “algorisms” will be exchanged for others under the control of machines that have “all” the necessary data to give us what we want, and make sure that we will not “want’ anything else.)

Harari points out that TODAY the world’s 62 wealthiest people own more of the world’s wealth than 3.2 billion of the world’s population, and increasing!!! He seems to think that this is inevitable. Though he DOES say that this is not likely to be complete until the last part of the Century, and not without some resistance–.

This is a well-written book whose major impact comes from what the author (purposely) DOES NOT SPECULATE ON–what will happen to US who will live through the changes he predicts so calmly.

It certainly made me think about how it might be if I were NOT one of the “super humans.” would I enjoy living a useless life> Or, would I be one of those who were unable to adjust and have to be….? More later. Get the book, it will “open your vision of our possible futures.” And, it doesn’t look bright.

John H. Langer, JD, Ed.D. Retired Federal agency manger, former professor of education, public school administrator, and writer of a number of articles and publications on education, public affairs, substance abuse and social issues. In writing a book on attention and memory as it relates to education, this blog is helping to focus attention n current issues, and hopefully, add something useful as well.

Leave a Comment