Tag Archives: singularity

Sapiens: Thinking, Stories and Ignorance, then choosing to die.

Yuval Harari’s brief history of humankind, weighing in at a meaty 400 pages, is enjoyable, provocative and very worrying.  The wide-ranging, scholarly story is easy to read and sensible.  I enjoyed the book from beginning to end, though I had to restrain myself from skipping to the last chapter: The End of Homo Sapiens.

For the first few chapters, the irony of our vain self-naming “sapiens” (wise in Latin) is palpable on every page .  We wiped out at least six other species of hominid, not because we were better, stronger or smarter, but because we believed in things that didn’t exist, imagined collaboration and ran amok.

Skipping to the end of the book, the stories that we’ve imagined (like a bearded man in the clouds) stand in the way of common sense.  We believe what we want to believe, not what we know to be true.  We believe advertisements instead of our own personal senses and experiences.  We believe in the virtue of power despite evidence that it is corrupt.  And everyday, with increasing speed, we choose a virtual reality of thinking machines and media devices which lead to a life without nature and the inevitable rise of cyborgs which are stronger, smarter and more emotionally astute that homo sapiens.  That time, presaged by the approaching technological singularity, is happening now.  In a few decades, humankind will be on the way down … unless we choose to live within the laws of nature.

Buy Sapiens and enjoy the story.  It’s about you!

Maybe system change will just be funny …

It sometimes difficult to be aware of what’s going on in the world because they’re not happy thoughts.

This time last week I was hearing about the dark web and bad pharma from a friend, Howard.  He runs a small cloud computing business with 30 million units invested in the technology and deals with a more severe IT security threat than your bank or insurance company.

Bad pharma is the unethical behaviour of your favourite pharmaceutical provider.  The big names, with the big drugs and the big money at stake.  Ethics get bent.

Dark web is the activity on the web by large, powerful organisations operating outside normal society – arms dealing, drugs, slavery, that sort of thing.  It happens.

Then there’s the ongoing wars mixed with greed, where people get killed.  Iraq, Iran, Syria, Israel, Palestine, …

Of course  civilian shootings (sometimes by cops)  and other crimes …

And, rather mundane, the financial crisis continues to confound most of us.  We are ok without growth.  But distortions continue in the way resources end up being shared.  Corruption abounds.

On Tuesday, my awareness was raised by an insightful address by President Higgins on the role of speculation in distorting the livelihoods of people who grow food.  It was unusual to hear a head of state talking about actual system change.

Generally, those at the top continue to turn a blind eye to lies.  So everyone feels the pressure.  Technology allows everyone to live without fear, yet most humans fear hunger daily.

It can seem sad.

So, let’s hope the change in the way we behave will seem funny, as we laugh at ourselves waiting so long to make teh change.  Then we could enjoy moving away from hierarchy, moving away from fear.

Education will be important.  Technology will help.  But if we are to outlive “the singularity”  we must choose a natural world over a virtual reality.  Let’s feel holarchy and enjoy nature.