As I have been reading and listening to books ferociously for the past 6 months, I have got to the point when I am choosing books for quite deliberate reasons. That may be because I found a certain topic interesting so choose a future book to delve into it more, or it may be that I am choosing to consume more books by specific authors. Today I am reviewing Homo Deus, the follow up book to Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari which I found fascinating and next week I will be reviewing Bounce which was the preceding book to Black Box thinking by Matthew Syed. Both of those former books featured heavily in my top ten book recommendations from the first half of this year (http://www.drchrisharper.co.uk/blog/my-10-favourite-books-of-2017-part-1) so I was interested to see how much I would like other works by these authors.
In Sapiens, Harari explained 70,000 years of human history providing many enlightening insights into why individual humans, and human cultures overall work the way they do. Deus pushes this research further and gives predictions for how society may change over the coming decades. Harari himself admits that these are just predictions and there is no guarantee that any or all of them will materialise, however once again many of the insights seem so spot on that it does not feel unlikely that the world in 2050 will be much like that portrayed within the book.
A large proportion of Deus centres around the premise that the current pace of technological and medical research will fairly soon result in many members of our species becoming changed beyond recognition and therefore no longer being classified as Homo Sapiens. Rather they will possess many god like features and therefore be part of a new species, Homo Deus.
The book also spends significant time discussing how our current global society (predominantly a liberal humanist democracy) has developed really only in the last few centuries and the few likely path as that this could go down in the coming decades as artificial intelligence and changing human attitudes to data threaten our current way of thinking. Like in Sapiens, I found the author's power of description and explanation enthralling and very thought provoking. Many ideas contained in these pages will stick with me for some time I am sure.
If you would like a good summary of what you may discover within its 450+ pages, here is a snippet taken from near the end of the book:
Dr Chris Harper