Last week, I published the longest SOS Memo
that I have ever written. This will be one of the shortest. So, take advantage of that extra time -- and watch the 8-minute video provided below.
A fun, engaging look at early human history....
You'll have a hard time putting it down.
After reading it in 2015, I decided to read Sapiens again after watching his latest eight-minute video (below) on YouTube. In it, Harari does a masterful job of summarizing the message in the book -- in an entertaining, almost Borat-sounding voice. But don't get me wrong, this short video is no comedy. From the video:
70,000 years ago, our ancestors were insignificant animals. Today, in contrast, we control this planet. And the question is: how did we turn ourselves from insignificant apes into the rulers of planet Earth?
Then, in just the first few minutes, he describes how we managed to get that done -- using the term, "fictional reality," which is a thought process that humans leverage to control other humans.
Do yourself a favor and watch this 8-minute video that was posted to YouTube on 2-10-21:
While listening to Harari talk about fictional realities that have enabled humans to gain control of the entire world -- I began thinking about the envisioned story of the Great Big Northern
that we tell in Outcry
His story in Sapiens is similar to the one that we tell in our book -- a vision of how all humans can work together to create a future civilization that respects the natural world and all of its creatures -- while providing a life with dignity, comfort and security for all humans.
Toward the end of the video, Harari goes silent as these closing statements appear on the screen:
We have been told a lie. A lie that says progress comes as a result of great individuals. That lie is used to justify the huge wealth inequity in the world today.
The truth is that progress is a result of our ability to cooperate with each other.
And it is time that the fruits of that progress be used to help everyone live a dignified life.
If you liked the first video (above) and would like to hear more from this brilliant man -- here is a link to a 17-minute TedTalk
on the same topic that he delivered in 2015.
A call to action. After watching both of those videos a few times, I found myself thinking about how we can leverage his thoughts, combine them with a little artificial intelligence and, in so doing, keep Homo sapiens alive and well for another few hundred thousand years.
We explore that topic in Chapter 12 of Outcry. It is entitled: When all else fails, can AI save us? and it begins with this quote from Dr. James Lovelock as he refers to the AI enabled robots that he calls cyborgs.
"We need not be afraid because, initially at least, these inorganic beings will need us and the whole organic world to continue to regulate the climate, keeping Earth cool to fend off the heat of the Sun and safeguard us from the worst effects of future catastrophes."
The Bottom Line. Dr. Harari and Dr. Lovelock both seem to believe that our chances for survival long-term as a species -- are much better if we learn how to harness, and partner with, the incredible power of AI.
They also recognize, as do other scientists and futurists, that, as the robots take over most of the world's jobs that were previously performed by humans -- we will need to think about many other ways to add meaning to our lives. Up until now, a person's career, or life's work, has always been a huge part of who they were. But that has already begun to change -- and it will only accelerate in the future.
Meanwhile, for those of us in the final trimester of our lives, there is much work to be done -- as we work to replace our civilization with one that is primarily focused on working harmoniously with nature for the benefit of all.
Later, when our grandchildren reach middle-age, their entire lives will be starkly different from the lives we have lived just two generations earlier. Hopefully, their work alongside their cyborg associates will yield a bright and enjoyable future for all concerned.
It would be great for all concerned if the next few generations of Homo sapiens choose to channel their endeavors toward the ultra-simple goal that was expressed by Harari a few paragraphs earlier:
It is time that the fruits of progress be used to help everyone live a dignified life.
That is very similar to the message that we deliver in Outcry. If you haven't already read it, we hope that you will read it soon -- and encourage others to do the same.
To my knowledge, it remains the only book ever published that features an envisioned, totally-green, ultra-sustainable, super-desirable, future habit for humans -- along with steps for how we might get there using today's technology.
Please circulate this SOS Memo widely. Also, contact me directly at the email below if you would like to discuss.