We, the last generation of Homo Sapiens

Let's not be afraid of robots lurking around the corner in the future. This is only possible in movies. Rather, we need to prepare for more complicated scenarios. Biotechnology, genetics and artificial intelligence will lead Homo Sapiens to an evolutionary change and will bring human existence to a new dimension.

This is how our future in the next hundred years is seen by one of the most popular modern thinkers, from Israel, historian Yuval Noah Harari. The views expressed in books (increasingly selling and translated into many languages) and articles published in well-known journals (including The Guardian, Wired, New York Times) attract the attention of both humanists and experts in advanced technologies. Let me just mention that his books were on the reading list recommended by Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.

The historian talks about algorithms

The very career of this scientist is amazing. An unknown historian, specializing in issues related to the Middle Ages, suddenly began to be invited to discuss artificial intelligence, neurotechnology and the threats that we can expect in the age of technology. He was famous for his book, Sapiens, published in 2014. From animals to gods "translated into many languages. Later, the position 'Homo Deus. A Brief History of Tomorrow ", published in 2016. A few months ago another book was published - a collection of essays entitled" 21 lessons for the 21st century ".

How not to become a slave?

It is impossible to summarize here all the threads and problems that Harari deals with - they concern biology, anthropology, history, culture, economics, history of civilization. So I will focus on a few threads, which he often returns to in interviews and public appearances, and which concern the impact of technology on our lives. Harari writes not only about the ancient history of humanity, but also about the scripts that await her in the last few decades. He is not afraid of bold, controversial theses. And it leaves no illusions. Technology will reorganize our lives over the next hundred years. Nobody today knows exactly how. Harari, however, claims that the knowledge we put into the heads of our children will rapidly and repeatedly become outdated. While 1000 years ago man could predict what would happen in 50, 100, 150 years and imagine what epidemics, wars and disasters could be like and what is needed to survive the next years, today the ideas of the future are not very valuable.

Admittedly, Harari is generally not an optimist. One possible scenario assumes that a privileged part of humanity will use data and information to subordinate other social groups. Knowledge, data and information will become the subject of speculation and the struggle for influence. They will serve the circles of power, not conquered territories and captured resources. Humanity can be divided into two groups. The first will be the lucky ones who managed to jump on the train called progress , the second will be those who dropped out in this race - says Harari.

How not to get hacked?

According to Harari, one of the duties of humanity is to prepare for the fact that technology will constantly change organisms (genetic engineering, plastic operations, chips implanted in the body, connecting us directly to devices), and perhaps affect the formation of a new type of self-awareness. Technological powers will still serve to multiply traditional goods such as food, clothes, means of transport, but the most important product against which the most advanced technologies will be directed will be the human body - modified, transformed, improved.

All this, among other things, thanks to the work of algorithms that will constantly monitor the work of our hearts, eyeballs, and brain activity. As living beings, we will undoubtedly gain new opportunities, but new threats will arise. Hacking of computers, bank accounts, e-mail is a reality of the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. In the tens of years, the greatest fears may arise from the notion that someone may want to hack our body.

How to be a happy processor?

It is difficult to determine exactly what the evolution of our human consciousness and our mental capabilities would consist in. That changes are ahead of us is certain. Harari decides nothing, deludes us. In his opinion, we can say goodbye to the view about the unique status of human intelligence and the unique capabilities of our mind. We are already experiencing the fact that algorithms understand us better than we do ourselves. What else, if not just such an understanding of algorithms, is sending us goods and services in the windows of web browsers? We might not often think that we need such a car model, such holidays and such friends on Linkedin.

At this point, it is worth mentioning that Harari refers to theses that are spoken by representatives of dataism. According to this trend, man, his feelings, decisions and choices are not some central, key value in the universe. Instead of the classically understood human subjectivity, we have the view that our species is at most a single data processing system. And individual human beings are something of a processor. The evolution of mankind and the progress that is made depends above all on how much we can improve the exchange and further transmission of information. Every progress of humanity - says Harari - was associated with achieving a new level of ability to manage them.

And how to behave now?

In short, the theses cited above may seem extreme, for some it may be fantastic. However, I must admit that Harari is very suggestive and convincing in his arguments. If we assume that his visions, however, contain some important meaning, you can ask yourself - well, then how to react to all this? Harari responds in one of the interviews: let's take all this seriously. Let's not forget that these changes will be accompanied by politics. Politicians, scientists and corporations will have powerful forces at their disposal. Let's not leave all decisions in their hands, let's try to find our way ...

Harari - as a human being - perhaps realizes this truth during meditation, which he gives up every day for two hours before and after work. Maybe thanks to it he gains a sense of subjectivity and gets rid of anxiety. I can only hope that after reading his books you will find more peace than anxiety.

Norbert Biedrzycki

Head of Services CEE, Microsoft. Manages Microsoft services in 36 countries, their scope includes business consulting and technological consulting, in particular in such areas as big data and artificial intelligence, business applications, cybersecurity, premium services and cloud. Formerly Vice President Digital McKinsey responsible for the CEE region and services combining strategic consulting and the implementation of advanced IT solutions. From comprehensive digital transformation through rapid implementation of business applications, big data solutions and analysis, business applications of artificial intelligence to blockchain and IoT solutions. Earlier, Norbert was the President of the Management Board and CEO of Atos Polska, he was also the head of ABC Data SA and the President of the Management Board and CEO of Sygnity SA. Previously he also worked at McKinsey as a partner, he was the director of consulting services and Oracle's business development department.

Norbert's passion is the latest robotics technologies, applications of artificial intelligence, blockchain, VR and AR, Internet of Things, and their impact on the economy and society. You can read more about this on Norbert's blog .



We, the last generation of Homo Sapiens

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