Artificial intelligence, ok. But also the fake news effect and the new migration scenarios. Yuval Noah Harari, the bestselling guru „Sapiens“ and „Homo Deus“, returns with „21 lessons for the 21st century“. And this exclusive interview. Where, in 10 points, he warns: be careful, the more we go forward and the more we go back. As in „Matrix“
In a world flooded with irrelevant information, lucidity is power „,
We are running in the wrong direction. “ To say it is Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli historian and essayist considered by many to be the guru of our times, in an interview with Sky Tg24. A warning with which the author of the essays Sapiens, Homo Deus and the most recent 21 lessons for the 21st century adds another lesson on the dangers of unregulated technological innovation and unrestrained progress. Two years after the release of his latest book (published by Bompiani), Harari condemns the political and economic choices of the main world powers: from the race to artificial intelligence that sees the US and China oppose, to the immobility of governments against the emergency climate, up to the danger of a nuclear war. The other 21 lessons to deal with the present are contained in the now famous essay that deals with the most important issues of our century: from the holding of democracy, to the growth of inequalities, from changes in the world of work, to the need to focus on training.
A book to regain awareness
Economic and social upheavals that have relegated man to the margins of society, rather than making him the protagonist.
the biggest challenge for humanity today is
The main danger for people around the world is irrelevance. In the twentieth century the big problem was: what happens if I am exploited by a multinational or a powerful government? Now the main danger is that it will happen if I become irrelevant? If they don’t need me anymore? Perhaps the only thing that will help me is my data. It is much more difficult to fight irrelevance than exploitation. When you are exploited, at least there are those who need you – whether you work in a factory or work in an army. But when you are irrelevant, because there is a machine that does everything better than you, then you can hardly rebel. Because you have no power. This is one of the reasons why the division between left and right is becoming less relevant. And the main clash is between global problems and local and national problems. In my opinion, we cannot solve any of our major problems without global collaboration, but global collaboration threatens the identity of many people. So now we see many tensions.
Today I think there are mainly three problems in the world: the possibility of a nuclear war, ecological collapse, in particular climate change, and finally the „destabilizing“ technology, or the rise of artificial intelligence, bioengineering, which will be completely destabilize the economy, society and even the human body. There is no intervention on these three problems at national level. Italy alone cannot prevent nuclear war. Italy alone cannot prevent climate change, regardless of the policies adopted by the government: unless it cooperates with the United States, Germany and China, it will not be enough. Similarly, if you think of technological destabilization, there are many reasons to fear the rise of artificial intelligence if it is not regulated. But it is not possible that the Italian government regulates artificial intelligence or data processing alone. If you look at the 20 largest technology companies in the world, none are Italian. Indeed, nobody is European. They are American or Chinese. We have to work with other countries. This does not mean giving up independence. It does not mean giving up on local culture or opening borders to immigration. It means, however, that we need to think beyond the national level and take measures to encourage global collaboration, not national isolationism.
Another fundamental theme of the work is the link between artificial intelligence and biology …
Many speak only of artificial intelligence, thinking that it is the greatest invention of our time. But artificial intelligence alone is very limited. Unless you combine biotechnology and bioengineering. Because the fundamental thing is not only to have very powerful computers. The main thing is what those computers can understand about humans. Even a car that drives itself: you can’t put it on the road if you don’t understand humans. Must understand human emotions. If a child loses the ball, he chases it on the street, for example. So cars that drive themselves must understand human emotions. And to do this they need biotechnology. Decipher human beings. It doesn’t just depend on computers. What do we see in the world now? Artificial intelligence and biotechnology are increasingly merging to create a single technological revolution that will soon allow companies and governments to „hack“, decipher human beings. The secret is to collect data with biotechnology, the human body and in particular the human brain and then analyze this information to decipher the human being. Understanding his emotions, his feelings, his opinions better than we understand them. As a first result, it allows you to predict what humans will do, but then it also allows manipulation and control. We are witnessing the creation of two types of surveillance regimes. In the West, we witness the birth of so-called surveillance capitalism: multinational corporations that accumulate huge amounts of data about each individual – at the moment to sell us things, but we could later use them for other purposes. In other countries, this is what governments do, not companies.
Artificial intelligence has enormous potential. Otherwise it wouldn’t be tempting. We just mentioned the vehicles that drive themselves. There are 1.25 million deaths from road accidents every year. Most of these accidents are due to human error. It equates to doubling deaths from gun violence. War, crime and terrorism kill half the people. If we went from human drivers to unmanned vehicles, we could probably save 1 million people a year. It’s wonderful.In the same way, artificial intelligence and biotechnology together could provide us with better and less expensive health care than in the past. This is also wonderful. Then there are also the dangers: the loss of any freedom of human decision, the birth of totalitarian extremist regimes. Many would lose their jobs. The economy would collapse in countries that are dependent on cheap labor. There are dangers. I emphasize the dangers in my texts and interventions, because we often hear about positive developments of entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists who develop technologies.