Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, written by Yuval Noah Harari, is an interesting read. Like his previous book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, the Israeli historian gives the world a groundbreaking narrative of human history. In the Sapiens book, Prof. Harai talks about of humanity’s creation and evolution. In the Homo Deus book, he leads our thoughts to the future. He tells us his unique ideas on where we could go and why. As expressed in the book title, "Homo Deus," which means "Human God," Prof. Harari implies the future could be dominated by elite humans, or "Homo Deus," (human god) who have supernatural abilities and with the new religion called Dataism.
In this blog, let's discuss some interesting ideas on data in this book, including:
1. The Dataism will become the new religion.
From the book, human history evolves around religions which tell stories that people believes. The major social advancements in the past always introduce new religions such as Christianity, Humanism, and Liberalism.
History revolves around the web of stories. Religion is any all-encompassing story that confers superhuman legitimacy on human laws, norms and values.
The author believes that the future religion is the data religion called Dataism. Dataism believes that the entire universe is a flow of data, the organisms are algorithms, the entire human species is a data processing system,
Dataism declares that the universe consists of data flows, and the value of any phenomenon or entity is determined by its contribution to data processing.
With extensive data access including the biometric data, the advanced algorithms, and the super computing power, new computers with AIs can perform much better than humans. Therefore, a lot of them can become useless. Professions, such as stock traders, taxi drivers, doctors, lawyers and even the music composers, could be replaced by computers. This is just like how horses are no longer used for transportation after the industrial revolution.
Dataists further believe that given enough biometric data and computing power, this all-encompassing system could understand humans much better than we understand ourselves. Once that happens, humans will lose their authority, and humanist practices such as democratic elections will become as obsolete as rain dances and flint knives.
In the book, Prof. Harari also mentioned the following requirements from Dataism is to build a data processing system that has free flowing of all the data, called "Internet of All Things."
This relentless flow of data sparks new inventions and disruptions that nobody plans, controls or comprehends.
In ancient times having power meant having access to data. Today, having power means knowing what to ignore. So considering everything that is happening in our chaotic world. What should we focus on?