“Homo Deus”, the Bible of mankind? There was a discussion with disciples of Yuval Noah Harari

The cover of “Homo Deus” — Albin-Michel

  • Homo Deus (Albin Michel), was sold to 106.000 copies in France in the space of four weeks.
  • Her previous book, Sapiens (sold in France to the more than 250,000 copies) has been a global success.
  • In Homo Deus, he imagines the possibilities of the world of tomorrow.

Yuval Noah Harari is not a historian like the others. He does not walk, he flies. And when this Israeli out a book in the radius of the human Sciences, it is in fact a social phenomenon. Leading the list of the best sales for the past four weeks, Homo Deus : a brief history of the future (Albin Michel), comes off at the bookstore (106.000 copies against 280.000 for his historical epic, Sapiens, published in 2015). Among his fan-club ultra-upscale crosses
Barack Obama,
Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and even our current president
Emmanuel Macron, who received it for a small dinner confidential to the Elysée palace for the month of September during his visit in France.


Yuval Noah Harari – ULIEN DE FONTENAY/JDD/SIPA

Historian, visionary, guru of the modern times or popularizer clever ? Can be a little bit of everything. We discussed with three of his followers to try to understand the runaway success of Yuval Noah Harari, is still unknown four years ago, and the scope of his writings.

The birth of the dataïsme

“It is a true literary phenomenon, people started to buy his first book, Sapiens, enthuses Olivier Gallais, 37, who works for the Library ideal to Paris. It is rare to see such sales for history books ” The bookseller was surprised at the extent of the popularity of these two works, but he does not hide his own fascination for the author.

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Homo Deus succeeds in the difficult task of addressing the greatest number without sacrificing the scientific content. “It is one of the few intellectuals to raise issues central today. A hundred years from now, we will speak of the
Silicon Valley in the history books, I am certain, ” says Arnaud Varnier, 30 years, entrepreneur digital. “It captures very well the issues facing the world today and the trends of thought “, observed his hand Louis Fichet, a retired 70-year-old, who is not, however, ” quite acquired to the image of the future described in the book “.

But what is it all about in this best-selling, exactly ? Yuval Noah Harari releases two scenarios, intentionally creepy ones. In the first, the technologies and the bio-engineering dig up the inequality between a class of super-human capabilities increased and the rest of humanity, the caste of the useless. The second assumption, even more wrecked, imagine the advent of a new religion called the “dataïsme” that signals the end of Sapiens [you and me] to leave his place to artificial intelligences. Humans cede their authority to the algorithms and datas.

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“We are already devotees”

“What is the use of democratic elections when the algorithms know not only who each person is going to vote, but also for what reasons neurobiological basis underlying such a person votes democrat and another republican ? “writes Yuval Noah Harari in his Homo Deus. The dataïsme has been erected already to a figure of authority in our societies. Instead of going to see the priest, or open the Bible in the case of existential crisis, now found
our answers on search engines such as Google. During the
last presidential election in France, the analysis of datas started to make a shadow to the polls. Is not this a proof that you has already put a finger (or two) in the gears ?

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Also read : big data puts a shot (of old) polls

“We are practicing without knowing it, it is secure,” concedes Louis Fichet. “All religions are a danger, but all the ingredients are there. When Pascal thought about the infinite, it loses the head. Here, the vastness of the data, we are flabbergasted, ” says the retiree. “It is a religion that does not say his name, I believe that in western society, there are many religious people who do not realize this. We are already devotees to the dataïsme “, outbids Arnaud Varnier, which warns against the risk of losing our faculties, such as sense of direction, to force delegate to the technology. If, for this young entrepreneur, Yuval Noah Harari is ” inspiring “, he did not imagine our species to disappear. “We should not under-estimate the human capacity to reinvent itself “.

The Silicon Valley already has its guru and his disciples. We may soon lose control of our lives since the algorithms we know better than ourselves, we would be controlled by the tools that we have ourselves created. “Listen to the algorithms ! They know your feelings “. Yuval Noah Harari force the line to warn us. And to remove your last doubts against the dataïsme, do you know that the algorithm ofAmazon already knows which book you are going to buy ? Good read !

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