Harari is well known author, who comes from field of history and is trying to give us inside into future. He tries to explain human development up to date in a very structured way. In his book Homo Deus, he is leading us through human development up until know, through mental and technological breakthroughs that we achieved on our way. And building on that development, he give us an idea of what might come.
He sees human development as leading species on our planet, not because of our cognitive supremacy or even consciousness, but because of our ability of cooperation inside large complex groups of individuals.
He is saying: “Humans are the only species that can cooperate on large scale with other humans in a dinamic, flexible way and that was main reason for their dominance in the world. If humans would not do that, their development as conscious, skilled tool maker, would not be so quick and advanced.”
He sees development through time based on jumps in technology and knowledge and changes of main belief systems in society from God to Human.
“Modernity brings us power to fight plaque, hunger, war. With help of bankers, industrialist, pharmacist, we were able to start growth cycle that enables people do prosper and develop. But we need to give up meaning. And by doing so, we were exposed to different kind of threath, no morality, no ethics. But this was managed by new religion – humanism.
Humanis brings to world meaning based inside people and not on some externall force, ussually God. Humanism regulates things based on human feelings. If it feels good it is good, if it feels bad it is bad. Dilemas are met when one person good feelings cause other persons bad feeling. Real source of authority and meaning are my own feelings.
In medieval Europe formula for knowledge was Knowledge= Scripture x Logic, the Science Revolution proposed new formula Knowledge=Empirical Data x Mathematics, but those formula could not answer value questions, so Humanism proposed new formula Knowledge = Expiriences x Sensitivity.
After winning war for »authority of meaning in the world« against religion, liberalism together with free market, humanism and democracy is only options for today’s world. Humanism as main driver for all those four elements and is rooted in perception that human expirience is the only possible source of meaning in the world. And so humans first rule replaced God from previous times.
Liberal humanism that is based on perception, that human feelings are only parameter of right and wrong and as such are ultimative ethichal judge. Two other kind of humanism are socialist humanism and evolutionary humanism – one represented by communism and other by Nazisim.”
But he is challenging idea of free will, idea that todays leading philosophies of liberalism and capitalism are based on.
He believes that:
“Mind is flow of subjective expiriences. This mental expirience are flow of sensations, emotions and thoughts.”
“Emotions are biochemical algorithms, that are vital for survival and reproduction of all mammals.”
So based on technical approach, he is doubting main postulate of free will, that is that there is one:
“But since todays leading political systems are based on liberalism, which is supported by free markets and democracy and liberalism is based on main assumption of free will of individuals, what happens if we realize that free will is nothing more then manifestation of some biochemical reactions and not so free at all. What if new knowledge in genetics and artifical inteligence shows us that perception of free will is not a factual statement as liberals are claiming and that liberty that is based on presumption of free will is not so strong argument any more.”
In his explanation of people beliefs and behaviour, he explains potential blind spot of our understanding of reality:
“Most people believe that reality is either objective or subjective. There is no third option.
But there is. Intersubjective reality, that exist as entity of communication between many humans and not on belief of individual.
All large-scale human cooperation is ultimately based on our belief in imagined order.”
And because of this, he sees potential development outside liberal, human oriented approach. He is seeing a step forward from Fukuyama’s End of History. Next steps could be based on:
“Possible development that will eliminate liberal thinking of every human is valubale as individual:
- Humas will lose their economic and military usefulness, hence the economic and political systems will stop attaching much value to them.
- The system will continue to find value in humans collectively, but not in unique individuals.
- The system will still find value in some unique individuals, but these will constitute a new elite of upgraded superhumans rather then mass of population.”
“Maybe in future algorithms will take over role of non-human entites like corporation and nations today.”
“If liberalism is based on percpetions:
- I am individual, I have single essence, that can not be divided.
- My authentic my-self is completely free.
- Only I can know my true self. No outside factor can know more about me, then I.
then New life science is declaring those truths false by saying:
- Organisms are algorithms. And those algorithms are different and they lack single voice. So people are not individuals, but dividuals.
- Algorithms that constitute humans are not free. They are shaped by genes and enviornmental pressures and take decision either determinalistically or random, but not free.
- And externall algorithm could in theory knew me better then I know my self.”
So by development of technology, life science and with jumps in cognitive evolution, we could be facing new role of humans as individuals.
“20th century was a century of masses. They were needed because elite need them for armies and workforce. What if in 21st century masses are not needed any more, what if algorithms, machines will replace soldiers and workers? Will elite still had need to give massses universal healthcare, education, social-wellfare.”
And we could see change in main belief system of society.
“So if 21st century is bringing new cognitive revolution (first was seventy thousand years ago which brought to light Homo Sapiens), where humans in order to be able to compete with new non-conscious intelligence of algorithms, need to upgrade them self with genetic engineering, nanotechnology and brain-computer interfaces. We could see rise of new techno-humanism religion, which will be based on data worship.”
“Dataism declares that the universe consist of data flows and the value of any phenomenon or entity is determined by its contribution to data processing. In 21st century it is information and not expirience and desires that gives meaning and authority to everything.”
“Dataism was born from two emerging science evolutions: Darwin’s evolution – humans as biochemical algorithms and ability of computer scientist to sucesfully build electronic algortihms that are coming closer to Thuring’s idea of Turing Machine – (If you work with a machine that impersionate human and you don’t feel a difference, then it is human).”
“Dataism main value is freedom of information. It is first really new value since 18. century and rise of liberalism. So if we want to achieve total freedom of information, we need to connect everything to network – internet.”
“If human believed that development of data processing goes like this: data is developed into information, information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. Dataism doesn’t trust human ability to run this circle in the best possible way, but instead trust in algorithms to develop data into wisdom directly.”
“So every sistem is estimated based on it’s ability to process data. And if we look at success of capitalism and democracy against communism and dictatorship/authocracy, we see that it is because ability of distrbuted data processing is better then centralised data processing.”
“If we believe in structure of data processing as defining process and we see humans as chips for processing those data, we can seek improvement in four steps:
- Increasing number of processors
- Improving variety of processors
- Increasing the number of connections between processors
- Increasing free movement along existing connections between processors”
“If we look at those four steps:
- when homo sapiens develop before 70.000 years – processors was made,
- until agricultural revolution they grow in numbers and variety, but they lack connectivity,
- from then until introducement of money and writing they begin connecting between eachother, since agricultural societies promote that, but this connectivity was still centric one,
- not until 1492, when first step was made to allow free global flows of data.”
“And if today humankind is global network of data flows, it’s input should be Internet-of-All-Things. And Homo Sapiens will become obsolete.”
And this development will lead us to accept certain preconditions of life, based on which our actions and behaviour will run.
- Organisms are algorithms and life is only data-processing.
- Intelligence is decoupling from consciousness.
- Non-consciousness but highly inteligent algorithms will know us better then we know our-self.
Who to say that we are not already there.