Transcript: The Future of Humankind | Nov 22, 2016

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "The future of humankind."

Steve says IN HIS 2014
BESTSELLER, "SAPIENS," AUTHOR
YUVAL NOAH HARARI LOOKED AT THE
75,000 YEAR HISTORY OF
HUMANKIND.
HIS NEW BOOK "HOMO DEUS: A BRIEF
HISTORY OF TOMORROW," HE PICKS
UP THAT STORY AND LOOKS AT
WHETHER OUR FUTURE LEADS DOWN A
PATH TO OUR OWN OBSOLESCENCE.
YUVAL NOAH HARARI JOINS US NOW.

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover is black, with the title in red.
Yuval is in his forties, clean-shaven and balding. He's wearing rimless glasses, a dark gray suit and a blue shirt.

Steve continues IT'S NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE AT TVO.

Yuval says HELLO.
IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE.

Steve says JUST IN CASE
EVERYBODY'S LATIN IS NOT AS
SHARP AS YOURS IS, DO YOU WANT
TO TRANSLATE THE TITLE FOR US?

The caption changes to "Yuval Noah Harari. Author, 'Homo Deus.'"
Then, it changes again to "History of tomorrow."

Yuval says IT'S BASICALLY "GOD MAN."
IT IMPLIES IN THE 21ST CENTURY,
HUMANKIND IS GOING TO TRY TO
UPGRADE ITSELF INTO A GOD, AND
THIS IS NOT MEANT AS A METAPHOR,
BUT IT'S MEANT LITERALLY.
WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF
ACQUIRING FOR OURSELVES
DIVINABILITY.
IN THE BIBLE, GOD... THE FIRST
THING GOD DOES IS TO CREATE
ANIMALS AND PLANTS AND HUMANS,
ACCORDING TO HIS WISHES.
AND NOW WE ARE LEARNING HOW TO
ENGINEER AND MANUFACTURE ANIMALS
AND PLANTS AND HUMANS ACCORDING
TO OUR WISHES.
AND IT'S VERY LIKELY THAT IN THE
21ST CENTURY, THE MAIN PRODUCT
OF THE ECONOMY WILL NOT BE
TEXTILES AND VEHICLES AND
WEAPONS, THEY WILL BE BODIES AND
BRAINS AND MINDS.

Steve says BEFORE WE GET TO
THAT, YOU'LL FORGIVE MY
CONFUSION ABOUT THE SUBTITLE.
I ALWAYS THOUGHT HISTORIANS
WROTE ABOUT YESTERDAY AND YOU'RE
NOW TALKING ABOUT A BRIEF
HISTORY OF TOMORROW.
DO YOU WANT TO EXPLAIN THAT?

The caption changes to "Yuval Noah Harari. Hebrew University of Jerusalem."

Yuval says YES.
I THINK IT'S THE...
I THINK IT'S THE LOGICAL
EXTENSION, THAT WHEN WE DON'T
LEARN HISTORY, JUST TO
UNDERSTAND THE PAST.
THE PAST IS GONE.
EVERYBODY IS DEAD.
ALL THE ISSUES ARE RESOLVED ONE
WAY OR THE OTHER.
I MEAN, IF IT DOESN'T TELL US
SOMETHING ABOUT THE FUTURE, THEN
IT'S NOT REALLY WORTH THE EFFORT.

Steve says BUT YUVAL, IF YOU
ASKED SOMEBODY FROM THE YEAR
1900, TELL US WHAT THE WORLD IS
GOING TO BE LIKE IN 100 YEARS,
THEY WOULD NOT HAVE A CLUE OF
HOW THINGS HAD TURNED OUT.
SO WHAT VALUE DO YOU THINK THERE
IS IN TRYING TO SPECULATE, NEVER
MIND 100 YEARS DOWN THE ROAD, 50
YEARS DOWN THE ROAD, 25 YEARS
DOWN THE ROAD, ON WHAT THE
FUTURE HISTORY OF OUR WORLD IS
GOING TO BE?

Yuval says WELL, THE TRUTH IS THAT
NOBODY HAS A CLUE HOW THE WORLD
WILL LOOK LIKE IN 20 OR 50
YEARS, INCLUDING MYSELF.
NOBODY KNOWS, FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT
THE JOB MARKET WOULD LOOK LIKE,
WHICH IS WHY NOBODY KNOWS WHAT
WE SHOULD TEACH CHILDREN AT
SCHOOL.
AND MY BOOK IS DEFINITELY NOT A
BOOK OF PROPHESY AND FORECAST
ABOUT THE FUTURE.
IT TRIES TO MAP DIFFERENT
POSSIBILITIES.
AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE SOME OF
THESE POSSIBILITIES, YOU CAN
STILL DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Steve says THIS IS WHAT'S
INTERESTING ABOUT IT.
IF YOU PICK UP ANY NEWSPAPER
ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, IT IS
FILLED ON A DAILY BASIS WITH THE
WORST DOOM AND GLOOM GOING.
AND YET IF YOU READ YOUR BOOK,
YOU THINK WE'RE LIVING IN THE
BEST OF TIMES.
DO YOU WANT TO EXPLAIN THAT?

Yuval says YES, DEFINITELY.
AT LEAST FROM A HUMAN
PERSPECTIVE, IF WE PUT THE OTHER
ANIMALS ASIDE, TODAY FOR THE
FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, MORE
PEOPLE DIE FROM EATING TOO MUCH
THAN FROM EATING TOO LITTLE.
IN FACT, THERE IS NO LONGER ANY
NATURAL FAMINE IN THE WORLD.
ALL THE FAMINE IN THE WORLD
TODAY IS JUST POLITICAL FAMINE.
PREVIOUSLY, PEOPLE DIED BECAUSE
THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH FOOD.
THERE WAS SOME NATURAL
CATASTROPHE, LIKE DROUGHT OR
LIKE EARTHQUAKE, AND THERE
WASN'T ENOUGH FOOD AND PEOPLE
DIED.
TODAY IF SOMEBODY STARVES TO
DEATH, IT'S ONLY BECAUSE SOME
POLITICIAN WANTS THEM TO STARVE
TO DEATH.
SO FAMINE IS BASICALLY SOLVED.
SIMILARLY, IF YOU LOOK AT
PLAGUES AND EPIDEMICS, TODAY FOR
THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, MORE
PEOPLE DIE FROM OLD AGE THAN
FROM INFECTIOUS DISEASE.
AND MORE PEOPLE TODAY DIE FROM
SUICIDE THAN FROM WAR AND CRIME
AND TERRORISM PUT TOGETHER.

Steve says I HEAR YOU ON THAT
AND I... YOU KNOW, THE NUMBERS
DO SUPPORT WHAT YOU'RE SAYING.
BUT WHEN... AGAIN, WHEN YOU PICK
UP THE PAPER AND YOU LOOK AT
AFGHANISTAN AND SYRIA AND IRAQ
AND YEMEN AND SO MANY OTHER
PLACES AROUND THE WORLD, IT
REALLY DOES NOT LOOK LIKE WE'VE
FIGURED OUT THIS WAR THING VERY
WELL; WOULD YOU AGREE?

Yuval says WELL, I'M NOT SAYING THERE
ARE NO LONGER ANY CONFLICTS AND
ANY VIOLENCE.
I COME FROM ISRAEL, SO I KNOW
PERFECTLY WELL THERE IS A LOT OF
VIOLENCE IN THE WORLD.
I'M JUST SAYING WE'RE IN A
BETTER POSITION THAN AT ANY
PREVIOUS TIME IN HISTORY, AND
EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE SOME
TROUBLE SPOTS LIKE THE MIDDLE
EAST, IN MUCH OF THE WORLD THERE
IS UNPRECEDENTED PEACE.
IF YOU LOOK, FOR EXAMPLE, AT
CANADA, THE CHANCES OF THE
AVERAGE CANADIAN BEING KILLED BY
A TERRORIST ATTACK IS ABOUT A
THOUSAND TIMES LESS THAN THE
CHANCES OF DYING FROM EATING TOO
MUCH AT McDONALD'S.

Steve says OKAY.
BUT WHAT ABOUT PLAGUE?
THE AVERAGE CANADIAN, NOT THAT
LONG AGO, 13 YEARS AGO, THE
AVERAGE CANADIAN HAD, IT TURNED
OUT, A PRETTY GOOD CHANCE OF
DYING OF S.A.R.S.
WE HAD 44 PEOPLE IN THIS CITY
DIE OF S.A.R.S.
THERE WERE SADLY HUNDREDS OF
PEOPLE IN TORONTO WHO DIED OF
AIDS BEFORE THAT.
LET'S GO FURTHER AFIELD, EBOLA
IN WEST AFRICA THAT WAS
CERTAINLY A PROBLEM FOR A WHILE,
THANKFULLY NOT SPREADING TO THE
REST OF THE WORLD.
WE HAVEN'T QUITE GOT THAT
FIGURED OUT YET, HAVE WE?

Yuval says NO.
IT'S NOT AS THOUGH WE CAN
COMPLETELY PREVENT THE OUTBREAK
OF DISEASE OR DEATH FROM
DISEASE.
AGAIN, LIKE WITH VIOLENCE, I'M
SAYING THE SITUATION IS MUCH
BETTER THAN ANY PREVIOUS TIME,
NOT THAT IT IS PERFECT.
AND IF YOU COMPARE, FOR EXAMPLE,
EBOLA WITH BLACK DEATH, EBOLA
KILLED ABOUT 10,000 PEOPLE
ALL TOGETHER.

Steve says IN AFRICA.

Yuval says IN AFRICA.
AND I THINK ALL OVER THE WORLD.
A FEW CASES OUTSIDE AFRICA AS
WELL.
THE BLACK DEATH KILLED ABOUT A
THIRD OF THE HUMAN POPULATION IN
ASIA, AFRICA, AND EUROPE AT THE
TIME.
SO IT'S A DISASTER ON A
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SCALE.
WHEN EBOLA STARTED, THE WORLD
EXPERT WHO FEARED THAT THIS IS
THE START OF A NEW BLACK DEATH.
BUT QUITE QUICKLY, THE GLOBAL
HEALTH AUTHORITY MANAGED TO
BRING THE EPIDEMIC UNDER
CONTROL.
IF EBOLA ERUPTED, SAY, 200 OR
100 YEARS AGO, THE DEATH TOLL
WOULD PROBABLY BE IN THE
MILLIONS, NOT IN THE TENS OF
THOUSANDS.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD.
IN WHICH CASE, IF OUR OLD
PREOCCUPATION WAS WITH FAMINE OR
PLAGUE OR RANDOM VIOLENCE OF
THAT KIND, WHAT DO YOU THINK OUR
NEW PREOCCUPATION GOING FORWARD
WILL BE?

Yuval says WELL, THE FIRST BIG
PREOCCUPATION WILL BE TO
OVERCOME OLD AGE AND DEATH.
IMMORTALITY WILL BE ONE OF THE
BIG ISSUES OF THE 21ST CENTURY,
AND IT'S ALREADY BEGINNING NOW.
AND NOT JUST IN THE LUNATIC
FRINGES, BUT ALSO IN THE CENTRES
OF SCIENCE AND OF BUSINESS.
GOOGLE ESTABLISHED TWO YEARS AGO
A SUB-COMPANY CALLED CALICO
WHOSE DECLARED AIM IS TO FIND A
SOLUTION TO DEATH.
THE SAME WAY WE FIND SOLUTION
TO --, NOW WE FIND A SOLUTION TO
DEATH.
AND THEY'RE NOT ALONE.
MORE AND MORE SCIENTISTS ARE
BASICALLY SAYING THAT DEATH IS
NOT A METAPHYSICAL PROBLEM,
DEATH IS NOT AN ORDAINED PART
OF THE HUMAN CONDITION, DEATH IS
A TECHNICAL PROBLEM.
EVEN THOUGH IT'S A VERY
COMPLICATED TECHNICAL PROBLEM,
IT CAN BE SOLVED WITH TECHNICAL
SOLUTIONS.
YOU DON'T NEED TO WAIT FOR GOD.
A COUPLE OF GEEKS IN A
LABORATORY CAN DO IT IF YOU GIVE
THEM ENOUGH TIME AND ENOUGH
MONEY.

Steve says HERE'S THE QUOTE
FROM YOUR BOOK: OUR IDEOLOGICAL
COMMITMENT TO HUMAN LIFE, YOU
SAY, WILL NEVER ALLOW US TO
ACCEPT HUMAN DEATH.
WHY ARE WE AT A POINT IN OUR
EXISTENCE AS HUMAN BEINGS WHERE
WE ARE STARTING TO WANT TO CHEAT DEATH?

Yuval says PEOPLE ALWAYS WANTED TO
OVERCOME DEATH.
THIS IS NOT SOMETHING NEW.
THE OLDEST EPIC IN HISTORY TELL
ABOUT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO
OVERCOME DEATH.

Steve says NOW APPARENTLY WE
THINK THERE'S SOMETHING WE CAN
ACTUALLY DO ABOUT IT.

The caption changes to "The new human agenda."

Yuval says EXACTLY.
I MEAN, PREVIOUSLY PEOPLE HAD TO
POSTPONE THESE HOPES FOR THE
AFTER LIFE.
AFTER YOU DIE, YOU LIVE FOREVER
IN PARADISE.
BUT NOW COME THE SCIENTISTS AND
THEY SAY YOU DON'T HAVE TO WAIT
FOR SUPER NATURAL HEALTH AFTER
YOU DIE, YOU CAN RELY ON NEW
TECHNOLOGY, BIOTECHNOLOGY,
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND SO
FORTH, TO OVERCOME DEATH AND
CREATE PARADISE HERE ON EARTH.
I'M NOT SAYING THAT THIS WILL
ACTUALLY HAPPEN IN THE 21ST
CENTURY, BUT I AM SAYING THAT
THIS WILL BECOME ONE OF THE
MAJOR NEW PROJECTS OF SCIENTISTS
AND OF HUMANKIND IN GENERAL.

Steve says CAN WE BLUE SKY THIS
A BIT AND FIGURE OUT HOW IT'S
GOING TO WORK?
I MEAN, AT SOME POINT THE BODY
GIVES OUT ONCE IT'S BEEN AROUND
LONG ENOUGH.
SO ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT AN
IMMORTALITY WHERE THE BRAIN
SOMEHOW IS TRANSPLANTED TO SOME
OTHER KIND OF VESSEL AND OUR
SPIRIT OR OUR SENSE CONTINUES ON FOREVER?

Yuval says THERE ARE BASICALLY THREE
WAYS IN WHICH YOU CAN DO IT.
YOU CAN USE BIOLOGICAL
ENGINEERING TO CHANGE OR UPGRADE
YOUR BIOLOGICAL BODY; YOU CAN
USE CYBORG ENGINEERING, WHICH IS
COMBINING YOUR BODY WITH
INORGANIC PARTS, WITH BIONIC
PARTS, TINY CELLS INSIDE YOUR
BLOODSTREAM; AND THE THIRD WAY
IS WHAT YOU MENTIONED, WHICH IS
THE CREATION OF COMPLETELY
INORGANIC LIFE FORMS, INCLUDING
THE POSSIBILITY OF UPLOADING
HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS INTO A COMPUTER.
NOW, NOBODY REALLY KNOWS WHAT
WILL COME OUT OF THESE HOPES,
BUT WE MAY BE ON THE VERGE OF
CREATING THE FIRST INORGANIC
LIFE FORM AFTER 4 BILLION YEARS
OF ORGANIC REVOLUTION.
FOR 4 BILLION YEARS, LIFE WAS
CONFINED TO THE RELATIVELY
SMALLER REALM OF ORGANIC
COMPOUNDS, AND WITHIN THE NEXT
CENTURY, IT MAY, FOR THE FIRST
TIME, BREAK OUT INTO THE
INORGANIC REALM, AND IF THIS
HAPPENS, IT WILL BE NOT JUST THE
GREATEST REVOLUTION IN HISTORY,
IT WILL BE THE GREATEST
REVOLUTION IN BIOLOGY SINCE THE
VERY BEGINNING OF LIFE.

Steve says I PRESUME WE ARE
AFTER THIS BECAUSE WE ARE IN
CONSTANT PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS,
AND THE ASSUMPTION IS, IF YOU
ARE IMMORTAL, YOU HAVE A CHANCE
AT BEING HAPPY FOREVER.
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT ONE OF THE
KEYS TO HUMAN HAPPINESS IS THE
KNOWLEDGE THAT THIS RIDE DOES
COME TO AN END AT SOME POINT AND
YOU DO HAVE TO GET OFF THE
FERRIS WHEEL?

Yuval says SOME PHILOSOPHERS AND
THINKERS THINK SO, BUT SOME DID
NOT LIKE THIS IDEA OF GETTING
OFF THE FERRIS WHEEL, SO THEY
ALL THE TIME CAME UP WITH THESE
STORIES AND FANTASIES THAT, YES,
THIS PHYSICAL BODY EVENTUALLY
DECAYS AND DECOMPOSES, BUT PART
OF ME, THE IMPORTANT PART,
SOMEHOW CONTINUES FOREVER,
EITHER VIA REINCARNATION OR
REBIRTH IN A NEW BODY, OR BY
GOING TO SOME HEAVEN OR PARADISE
AFTER WE DIE.
SO IT'S NOT SOMETHING NEW, IT'S
JUST THE MEANS OF ACCOMPLISHING
IT IS NEW.
YOU CAN SAY THAT WHAT WE ARE
SEEING TODAY IS THE EMERGENCE OF
A KIND OF TECHNO RELIGION,
RELIGION THAT MAKES ALL THE OLD
PROMISES OF HAPPINESS AND
JUSTICE AND ETERNAL LIFE, BUT
HERE ON EARTH, WITH THE HELP OF
TECHNOLOGY, AND NOT AFTER YOU
DIE, WITH THE HELP OF SUPER
NATURAL BEINGS.

Steve says BUT YOU'VE WRITTEN THIS.
THESE ARE YOUR THOUGHTS.
THEY WILL BE ON LIBRARY
BOOKSHELVES ALL OVER THE WORLD.
THEY WILL BE IN HOMES ALL OVER
THE WORLD.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES SAID, THAT'S A GOOD BOOK,
AND HE RECOMMENDED YOUR BOOK,
BARACK OBAMA.
IS THAT NOT ENOUGH IMMORTALITY
FOR YOU?

Yuval says UM...
WELL, FOR ME PERSONALLY, IT'S A
VERY DIFFERENT QUESTION.
MANY PEOPLE COMPOSE BOOKS,
PRODUCE MOVIES AND SO FORTH IN
THE HOPE THAT THIS WILL PROVIDE
THEM WITH SOME KIND OF
IMMORTALITY, BUT WOODY ALLEN,
WHEN HE WAS ASKED...

Steve says I LOVE THE LINE.

Yuval says IF HE WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER
THROUGH HIS MOVIES, THEN HE
REPLIED, I WOULD PREFER TO LIVE
IN MY APARTMENT.
AND I THINK THIS IS JUST ANOTHER
KIND OF... KIND OF FANTASY TO
LIVE FOREVER IN YOUR CREATION,
IT'S NOT A REAL THING.

Steve says DO YOU WORRY ABOUT
THE ETHICS OF ALL OF THIS?

Yuval says VERY MUCH SO.
I THINK THAT ETHICS IS GOING TO
BE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IN THE
21ST CENTURY BECAUSE TECHNOLOGY
WILL PRESENT US WITH ENORMOUS
POWERS AND FRIGHTEN
POSSIBILITIES AND IF WE DON'T
HAVE A GOOD ETHICAL BASIS, THEN
WE CAN MAKE TERRIBLE DECISIONS.
AND WHAT SHOULD BE VERY OBVIOUS
IS THAT WITH THE SAME TECHNOLOGY
YOU CAN CREATE COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT KIND OF SOCIETY, AND
THIS IS NOT SOMETHING NEW, OF COURSE.
WITH THE TECHNOLOGY OF THE
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, WITH
TRAINS AND ELECTRICITY AND OIL,
YOU COULD CREATE A DICTATORSHIP,
A FASCIST REGIME, OR A LIBERAL
DEMOCRACY, AND THE CHOICE
BETWEEN THEM IS NOT
TECHNOLOGICAL.
THE CHOICE BETWEEN THEM IS
ETHICAL.
AND IT'S THE SAME THING WITH
BIOTECHNOLOGY AND ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE; THEY DON'T MANDATE
A SINGLE DETERMINISTIC FUTURE,
THERE ARE CHOICES TO BE MADE.
AND IF WE WANT TO THINK ABOUT
THESE CHOICES FROM AN ETHICAL
PERSPECTIVE, THE RESULTS COULD
BE DISASTROUS.

Steve says THERE HAVE BEEN SOME
FAIRLY POPULAR MOVIES OVER THE
YEARS CONSIDERING GENETICALLY
ENGINEERED SUPER-CHILDREN WHOM
ONE COULD FEAR COULD GROW UP
AND, WHO KNOWS, TAKE OVER THE
WORLD, WHATEVER.
THIS SUDDENLY IS NOT SCIENCE
FICTION, THIS COULD BE SCIENCE
FACT IF WHAT YOU PREDICT IS A
LOGICAL EXTENSION OF OUR FUTURE; RIGHT?

Yuval says WELL, YOU CAN HAVE EVEN FAR
MORE SIMPLE SCENARIOS.
THE RISE OF ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE, EVEN WITHOUT
GENETIC ENGINEERING, IS ALREADY
THREATENING OF PUSHING MORE AND
MORE HUMANS OUT OF THE JOB MARKET.
SO WITHIN 20 OR 30 YEARS, WE MAY
SEE THE RISE OF A NEW MASSIVE
CLASS, THE USELESS CLASS, JUST
AS THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
CREATED THE URBAN WORKING CLASS.
SO THE NEW REVOLUTION WILL
CREATE THE USELESS CLASS.
PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT JUST
UNEMPLOYED BUT UNEMPLOYABLE, AND
THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL
IMPLICATION OF THAT COULD BE
CATASTROPHIC.
YOU COULD HAVE BILLIONS OF
PEOPLE WITHOUT ECONOMIC
IMPORTANCE AND WITHOUT POLITICAL POWER.

Steve says THOSE ARE THE SEEDS
OF A REVOLUTION.

Yuval says OR THE SEEDS OF A VERY
FRIGHTENING DYSTOPIA.
BUT AGAIN, I WANT TO EMPHASIZE,
IT'S NOT A PROPHESY, IT'S JUST A
POSSIBILITY.
IF WE DON'T LIKE THIS
POSSIBILITY, NOW IS THE TIME TO
START DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Steve says SO IS THIS WHAT YOU
REFER TO WHEN YOU WRITE: THE
RISE OF HUMANISM ALSO CONTAINS
THE SEEDS OF ITS DOWNFALL?

The caption changes to "Fall of humanism, rise of A.I."

Yuval says YES.
TO PURSUE ALL THESE
TECHNOLOGIES, LIKE A.I. AND LIKE
BIOTECHNOLOGY, IN THE HOPE THAT
THEY WILL SERVE HUMAN KIND AND
THEY WILL GIVE US BETTER HEALTH,
HAPPIER LIVES, AND SO FORTH.
BUT THE RESULT MAY BE TO MAKE
MOST HUMANS REDUNDANT.
IF YOU WANT BETTER HEALTH, SO
YOU CREATE A KIND OF ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE THAT UNDERSTANDS
YOUR BODY AND YOUR BRAIN BETTER
THAN YOU CAN EVER UNDERSTAND
THEM SO THAT IT CAN PROVIDE YOU
WITH BETTER HEALTH.
BUT ONCE YOU HAVE AN A.I. THAT
UNDERSTANDS YOU BETTER THAN YOU
UNDERSTAND YOURSELF, YOU ARE
BECOMING REDUNDANT.
THE A.I. CAN DO EVERYTHING
BETTER THAN YOU CAN, AND THEN WE
HAVE A WORLD IN WHICH HUMANS ARE
NOT THE MOST POWERFUL AND THE
FOCUS OF ATTENTION; HUMANS ARE
BECOMING JUST YESTERDAY'S NEWS.
THE PREVIOUS STATE OF EVOLUTION
AND NOW THERE IS SOMETHING NEW.

Steve says SO IF THAT FUTURE
HAPPENS, THE END OF HUMANISM, IF
YOU LIKE, WHAT'S GOING TO REPLACE IT?
WHAT COULD REPLACE IT?

The caption changes to "A new religion?"

Yuval says ONE OF THE THINGS THAT COULD
REPLACE IT IS AN IDEOLOGY, WHICH
WE CAN CALL DATAISM, WHICH IS
ALREADY BECOMING DOMINANT IN
PLACES LIKE SILICON VALLEY, THE
WHOLE UNIVERSE IS JUST A FLOW OF
DATA, AND ALL PHENOMENA IN THE
UNIVERSE, INCLUDING TOMATOES AND
GIRAFFES AND HUMAN BEINGS, ARE
JUST DIFFERENT WAYS OF
PROCESSING DATA.
FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, HUMANS
WERE THE BEST ALGORITHMS IN THE
WORLD, THE BEST DATA PROCESSING
SYSTEM IN THE WORLD.
BUT NOW WE HAVE BETTER DATA
PROCESSING SYSTEMS.
WE ARE CREATING THE KIND OF
INTERNET OF ALL THINGS, AND THIS
BECOMES MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN
HUMANS, AND WE MAY WELL SEE,
WITHIN A FEW DECADES, AUTHORITY
SHIFTING AWAY FROM HUMANS TO
THESE ALGORITHMS.

Steve says IF THE SCENARIO YOU
HAVE JUST POSITED HAPPENS,
WHAT'S THE OUTPUT OF THE NEW
WORLD OF DATAISM YOU HAVE DESCRIBED?

Yuval says THE OUTPUT... AGAIN, THE
OUTPUT OF HUMANKIND IS THE
CREATION OF THIS SUPERIOR
ALGORITHM, SUPERIOR DATA
PROCESSING SYSTEM.
WHAT WILL BE THE OUTPUT OF THAT
SYSTEM IS, BY DEFINITION, BEYOND
THE ABILITY OF HUMANS TO
UNDERSTAND OR TO IMAGINE.
OUR BRAINS ARE A DATA PROCESSING
SYSTEM THAT EVOLVED IN THE
AFRICAN SAVANNAH 70,000 YEARS AGO.
NOW WE ARE CREATING SOMETHING
FAR, FAR MORE POWERFUL.
BY DEFINITION, OUR OLD-FASHIONED
OBSOLETE ALGORITHMS ARE
INCAPABLE OF UNDERSTANDING
WHAT'S NEXT.

Steve says HOW OLD ARE YOU?

Yuval says FORTY.

Steve says SO YOU'RE A YOUNG
GUY STILL.
YOU'LL PROBABLY BE AROUND TO SEE
SOME OF THIS HAPPEN.
DOES THAT EXCITE YOU OR FRIGHTEN
YOU OR WHAT DOES IT DO?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram."

Yuval says IT'S HAPPENING ALREADY TODAY.
I MEAN, IF YOU SPEAK ABOUT
AUTHORITY SHIFTING FROM HUMANS
TO ALGORITHMS, IT'S ALL AROUND US.
IF YOU NAVIGATE YOUR WAY AROUND
THE CITY, YOU DON'T... YOU NO
LONGER RELY ON YOUR OWN
INTUITION AND KNOWLEDGE, YOU
RELY ON YOUR SMARTPHONE TO TELL
YOU WHERE TO GO.
WHEN YOU GO TO BUY A BOOK, YOU
RELY ON AMAZON.
VERY SOON YOU RELY ON AMAZON AND
GOOGLE TO CHOOSE YOUR DAY AND TO
VOTE IN THE ELECTION.
SO IT'S NOT SOME DISTANT FUTURE,
IT'S ALREADY HAPPENING AS WE
SPEAK.
PERSONALLY, I TRY TO BE NEITHER
OPTIMISTIC NOR PESSIMISTIC, BUT
REALIST, TO SEE WHAT IS
HAPPENING AND TO UNDERSTAND THAT
EVERY CHANGE, EVERY BIG CHANGE
IN HISTORY HAS BOTH POSITIVES
AND NEGATIVE POTENTIAL.
THERE IS ALMOST NO CASE OF A BIG
REVOLUTION WITH JUST POSITIVES
OR JUST NEGATIVE POTENTIAL.
AND THE KEY THING IS TO MAKE
TECHNOLOGY SERVE US AND NOT US
SERVING TECHNOLOGY.

Steve says IN WHICH CASE, IN
OUR LAST MINUTE, LET ME DO WHAT
THE TITLE OF YOUR BOOK SUGGESTS.
LET ME MAKE THIS MAN GOD FOR A
MOMENT HERE.
IF YOU COULD WAVE THAT MAGIC
WAND AND HAVE ONE THING HAPPEN
IN THE FUTURE FOR CERTAIN OF
WHAT YOU'VE DESCRIBED HERE, WHAT
WOULD IT BE?

Yuval says TO UNDERSTAND WHAT
CONSCIOUSNESS IS.
THE ONE BIG THING THAT WE STILL
DON'T UNDERSTAND AND WHICH IS
THE KEY TO MOST OF THE BIG
QUESTIONS, ESPECIALLY THE
ETHICAL QUESTIONS, IS TO
UNDERSTAND CONSCIOUSNESS.
WE ARE DEVOTING IMMENSE AMOUNTS
OF EFFORT AND TIME AND MONEY TO
RESEARCHING THE BRAIN AND THE
BODY AND INTELLIGENCE AND
CREATING ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE.
BUT WE DON'T UNDERSTAND THE MIND
IN CONTRAST TO THE BRAIN, WE
DON'T UNDERSTAND CONSCIOUSNESS,
AND MY BIG FEAR IS THAT WE WILL
UPGRADE OUR BODIES AND OUR
BRAINS AND LOSE OUR MINDS IN THE PROCESS.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda"

Steve says THIS IS AN
ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING BOOK.
WE SHOULD TELL EVERYBODY, YOU
WROTE IT INITIALLY IN HEBREW,
WHICH IS YOUR FIRST LANGUAGE,
AND THEN DID ANOTHER VERSION IN
ENGLISH WITH I GUESS NORTH
AMERICAN EXAMPLES AND BRITISH
EXAMPLES.

Yuval says AND ALL KINDS OF UPDATE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Eric Bombicino, @ebombicino"

Steve says UPDATES.
AN ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING READ,
YUVAL NOAH HARARI, "HOMO DEUS: A
BRIEF HISTORY OF TOMORROW."
YES, YOU CAN HAVE A HISTORY OF TOMORROW.

Yuval says THANK YOU.

Watch: The Future of Humankind