Book Summary: Homo Deus

On advancement

  • Max Planck – science advances one funeral at a time. When one generation passes away do new theories have a chance to root out old ones

On happiness

  • Epicurus:
    • outlined an entire ethic of dos and don’ts to guide people to¬†along the treacherous path to happiness
    • Despite our unprecedented achievements in the last few decades, its far from obvious that contemporary people are significantly more satisfied than their ancestors
  • Life sciences:
    • happiness and suffering are nothing but different balances of bodily sensations
    • We never react to events in the outside world
    • but only to sensations in our own bodies
    • depression is a kind of unpleasant bodily sensation
    • our biochemistry adapted to increasing our chances of survival and reproduction, not our happiness
    • biochemical system rewards actions conducive to survival and reproduction with pleasant sensations
      • Food
      • mates

Studying History

  • Aim: Loosening the the grip of the past
  • Enables us to notice possibilities that our ancestors could not or did not want us to imagine
  • It does not tell us what to choose
  • it gives us more options, to image alternative destinies

Agricultural deal:

  • Farmers justify their exploitation of domesticated animals in the name of new theist religions

Body is an algorithm

  • Body feels hunger, fear, trembling
  • He experiences a storm of sensations, emotions and desires
  • These are nothing but the process of calculation

Individual versus Group

  • Large numbers of people behave in a fundamentally different way than do small numbers

Sunk Cost Bias and Meaning

  • We want to believe our lives have some objective meaning
  • our sacrifices matter to something beyond the stories in our head
  • Meaning is created when many people weave together a network of stories

Non-material entities / religion

  • An entity is real if it can suffer
  • religion / belief system is a tool for governing defined by its social function
  • confers superhuman legitimacy on human laws, norms and values
  • legitimates human social structures
  • Asserts we are subjected to a system of moral laws that we did not invent
  • Helps the state collect taxes without itself lifting a finger
  • regulations on biochemical pursuit of happiness
    • good drugs – strengthen political stability, social order and economic growth
    • bad drugs – threatens stability and growth

Religion versus Spiritualism

  • Religion seeks to cement the worldly order
  • Spirituality seeks to escape it
  • Spiritual wanders most important obligation is to challenge the belief and conventions of dominant religion – Zen Buddhism “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him”

Transition from Religion to Humanism

  • From What God/central authority said is true
  • What you feel is true. Its far more important to know what you think about these matters
  • Assumes each human has a single authentic inner self
  • The central question is if human can choose his desire in the first place
  • Transcranial simulators has proven to be able to alter human consciousness, resulting in enhanced capabilities
  • The divide between the Identifying self versus the Experiencing self
    • Decisions are made by the Identifying self that functions without the ability to have comprehensive data

Modernity, the rat race and technology

  • In the capitalist world, the lives of the poor improve¬†only when the economy grows
  • Despite all our achievements, we feel a constant pressure to do and produce even more
  • every generation destroys the old world and builds a new one in its place
  • Continued belief in the growth story that is being supported by belief in the hi-tech Ark

Hi-tech Ark

  • is currently one of the biggest threats to the future of man and its eco-system
  • Humans are in danger of loosing their economic value because intelligence is decoupling from consciousness
  • Automation
    • Types of job
      • Agricultural
      • Industry
      • Services
  • The coming technology bonanza can probably feed all humans. But without something to do humans will go crazy
  • AI which first starts out as an Oracle will eventually turn into sovereign

Forthcoming Techno religions:

  • Techno-humanism
    • technology enhanced humans: cyborgs
  • Data-religion
    • having enough data means knowing what to ignore
    • machine can know us better than ourselves
    • organisms are really just algorithms
    • Intelligence versus consciousness

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