Yuval Noah Harari returns with a major new work in September 2024: NEXUS: A Brief History of Information Networks from the Stone Age to AI. This non-fiction book looks through the long lens of human history to consider how the flow of information has made, and unmade, our world.
We are living through the most profound information revolution in human history. To understand it, we need to understand what has come before. We have named our species Homo sapiens, the wise human – but if humans are so wise, why are we doing so many self-destructive things? In particular, why are we on the verge of committing ecological and technological suicide? Humanity gains power by building large networks of cooperation, but the easiest way to build and maintain these networks is by spreading fictions, fantasies, and mass delusions. In the 21st century, AI may form the nexus for a new network of delusions that could prevent future generations from even attempting to expose its lies and fictions. However, history is not deterministic, and neither is technology: by making informed choices, we can still prevent the worst outcomes. Because if we can’t change the future, then why waste time discussing it?
ABOUT THE BOOK
Taking us from the Stone Age, through the canonization of the Bible, early modern witch-hunts, Stalinism, Nazism, and the resurgence of populism today, NEXUS asks us to consider the complex relationship between information and truth, bureaucracy and mythology, wisdom, and power. Harari explores how different societies and political systems have wielded information to achieve their goals and impose order, for good and bad. And he addresses the urgent choices we face today, as non-human intelligence threatens our very existence.