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Homo Deus

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind described how humans conquered the world thanks to their unique ability to believe in collective myths about gods, money, equality and freedom.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow examines what might happen to the world when these old myths are coupled with new godlike technologies such as artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.

What will happen to democracy when Google and Facebook come to know our likes and our political preferences better than we know them ourselves? What will happen to the welfare state when computers push humans out of the job market and create a massive new “useless class”? How might Islam handle genetic engineering? Will Silicon Valley end up producing new religions, rather than just novel gadgets?
As Homo sapiens becomes Homo deus, what new destinies will we set for ourselves? As the self-made gods of planet earth, which projects should we undertake, and how will we protect this fragile planet and humankind itself from our own destructive powers? The book Homo Deus gives us a glimpse of the dreams and nightmares that will shape the 21st century.

THE BOOK

Sapiens explained how humankind came to rule the planet. Homo Deus examines our future. It blends science, history, philosophy, and every discipline in between, offering a vision of tomorrow that at first seems incomprehensible but soon looks undeniable: humanity will soon lose not only its dominance, but its very meaning. And we shouldn’t wait around for the resistance, either – while our favourite science fiction trope sees humans battling machines in the name of freedom and individualism, in reality these humanist myths will have long been discarded, as obsolete as cassette tapes or rain dances. This may sound alarming, but change is always frightening.

Over the past century, humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague and war. Today, more people die from obesity than from starvation; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed in war. We are the only species in earth’s long history that has single-handedly changed the entire planet, and we no longer expect any higher being to shape our destinies for us.

Success breeds ambition, and humankind will next seek immortality, boundless happiness and divine powers of creation. But the pursuit of these very goals will ultimately render most human beings superfluous. So where do we go from here? For starters, we can make today’s choices with our eyes wide open to where they are leading us. We cannot stop the march of history, but we can influence its direction.

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