Yuval Noah Harari

In his latest book Homo Deus Yuval Noah Harari makes three statements on the last page:

1 -Science is converging on an all-encompassing dogma, which says that organisms are algorithms, and life is data processing.

2 – Intelligence is decoupling from consciousness.

3 – Non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms may soon know us better than we know ourselves.

He then goes on to ask three key questions:

1 – Are organisms really just algorithms, and is life really just data processing?

2 – What’s more valuable – intelligence or consciousness?

3 – What will happen to society, politics and daily life when non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we know ourselves?

One answer to question one seems to be pretty simple – ‘no’ because it misses out empathy, arguably a cornerstone of ethics. I think question two sets up a false dichotomy because it sidesteps the obvious possibility that a combination of the two may be more valuable, or at least as valuable, than each isolated. And I have no idea how to answer the third question. Anyone got any ideas?

Dickie Bellringer