Since then, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how I may have freaked the class out, and I have a tonic for how we can have a positive impact on this dangerous future.
Yuval Noah Harari is a historian with an uncanny ability to cut to the heart of an issue, and to summarize huge amounts of information. (For example, his first book, Sapiens, covers all of history in less than 400 pages.)
You can find a wonderful conversation Harari has with Sam Harris in the latest edition of Harris’s show, The Waking Up Podcast. Harris can be a problematic figure, but I do love his ability to have an open conversation with his interview subjects, and he can draw GREAT guests. They have a wide-ranging discussion in this live podcast, including a lengthy talk about AI. I think the class would benefit from Harari’s fascinating take on the nature of storytelling in the human experience, and how to use stories to make our futures better.
If you don’t have the time for a lengthy podcast, Rosie Barton had a good interview with him on Sunday.
I will leave you with a bit of advice he gave one of the audience members at The Waking Up Podcast taping. She was a young woman, looking for steps she could take to make the future better, and Harari had three specific things she could do:
- Know yourself so you’re less hackable
- To make change, join/start an organization
- Require that politicians answer questions about the three existential threats to humans:
- Climate change
- Nuclear war
- Technological dystopia
Harari is the author of two other books, Homo Deus, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, the latter of which he’s currently promoting.