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Sunday, April 15, 2018

What’s Next for Humanity: Automation, New Morality and a ‘Global Useless Class’

Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura
The New York Times
Originally published March 19, 2018

What will our future look like — not in a century but in a mere two decades?

Terrifying, if you’re to believe Yuval Noah Harari, the Israeli historian and author of “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus,” a pair of audacious books that offer a sweeping history of humankind and a forecast of what lies ahead: an age of algorithms and technology that could see us transformed into “super-humans” with godlike qualities.

In an event organized by The New York Times and How To Academy, Mr. Harari gave his predictions to the Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman. Humans, he warned, “have created such a complicated world that we’re no longer able to make sense of what is happening.” Here are highlights of the interview.

Artificial intelligence and automation will create a ‘global useless class.’

Just as the Industrial Revolution created the working class, automation could create a “global useless class,” Mr. Harari said, and the political and social history of the coming decades will revolve around the hopes and fears of this new class. Disruptive technologies, which have helped bring enormous progress, could be disastrous if they get out of hand.

“Every technology has a good potential and a bad potential,” he said. “Nuclear war is obviously terrible. Nobody wants it. The question is how to prevent it. With disruptive technology the danger is far greater, because it has some wonderful potential. There are a lot of forces pushing us faster and faster to develop these disruptive technologies and it’s very difficult to know in advance what the consequences will be, in terms of community, in terms of relations with people, in terms of politics.”

The article is here.

The video is worth watching.

Please read Sapiens and Homo Deus by Yuval Harari.

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