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    • I promised @frankreed I'd start a conversation about Harari because Harari is selling a ton of books which have ended up on the reading lists of Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Zuckerberg. Some people think he's genius, some say he should make any thinking person's skin crawl.

      The reason The New York Times said he was tech's doomsayer, is he believes humans are hackable. You can use Facebook the way it's designed to hack what people believe, win elections and lead us to dystopian ruin.

      Anyone have opinions on the guy?

    • He has some very interesting view points. and is quite good in conveying them. I don't disagree with the points he has on persuading the general public through various social media etc

      His recent books are probably pretty high up on the sellers list too I imagine.

      Russel Brand did a few podcasts with him a while back that are still good for the ears today

    • I've only read Homo Deus:A Brief History of Tomorrow so I can only comment on that as related to this post. While I agree with many things he says, there are also many things I disagree with. He is sometimes very good at eloquently stating his view but at other times he comes across as confused and his ideas are not fully formed.

      I don't think there are many prognosticators these days but Harari is one of them. Everyone longs to know what the future holds in store. If only we could predict the future we'd be very rich indeed. What really matters here I think is that he need only give someone in a position of power one good idea that they can run with. If that one idea or foresight proves to be correct or helps them develop a vision of the future then they can really cash in on it. An interesting thing to consider is that merely stating something may be true in the future could make it true if the right person seizes on it. Prognostication is exciting and anyone in tech is drooling over a glint of the future and where it might go.

    • No pundit ever made fame by having a rational, data-driven and statistical-based approach to prognostication. Yuval is a victim of his own fame. First a respectful historian with good writing prose. Then a futurologist, like so many before him, will be forgotten as soon as the populous picks up a new trendy sage.

      I enjoyed Homo Sapiens, then I picked up Homo Deus and gave up after 2.5 chapters. After the initial barrage of facile "predictions" and ungrounded "justifications" one can only conclude that what follows is more of the same and I have better ways to waste time.

    • You'd think that historians better than anyone would be hesitant to try to predict the future. He cautions about such things in his book but then goes right ahead and does it. I found that his book got better after I slogged through the first part. I pretty much agree with your take but I still find it interesting to read predictions even if most of them won't likely come true. I read Alvin Toffler's books when I was young. Doesn't everyone want to know the future?

    • Not as much as others. We discussed him briefly in an earlier thread here, so I won't repeat my comments there. I think I could sum it up by saying that I don't find very much original thinking in his views of the past and his speculations on the future seem more based on an uncritical acceptance of hype than on a real understanding of science. He's a good story-teller, and I suppose that accounts for his popularity.

    • I need to read his books. It is very easy for people to grab pieces of what he said and paint a certain picture. Same thing happens with the Bible. Taking a few sentences here and there swiping a broad brush can make something look any way that you need it to. That said, I am going to read his material and see what I really think.

      Initially, I will say I find it curious, the sway that he seems to have with the Silicon Valley elite.

    • I just had a thought about the original question @Chris posed. Tech CEOs might be taken with Harari because he implicitly advances the notion that tech is all-powerful and that spectacular results are coming sooner rather than later. It doesn't matter whether the results might be dystopian--that's something for society to deal with, not corporations. But people--especially investors--who uncritically buy into the notion that tech can work miracles enhance the economic strength and hence power of the sector. I admit this is entirely speculative, but it makes sense to me.

    You've been invited!