The Week (US)

The prophet’s technologi­cal warning


Yuval Noah Harari is one of the most fashionabl­e thinkers on the planet right now—and some of his thoughts are deeply alarming, says Cole Moreton in the Mail on Sunday (U.K.). The Israeli academic believes humans will soon become “cyborgs, combining organic and inorganic parts.” He says the human brain “will still be the command-and-control center, but you’ll connect it more and more directly to all kinds of devices, whether it’s bionic arms or direct brain-computer interfaces.” Some of this is already happening, he points out. “People already have bionic arms and legs that work by the power of thought. And we increasing­ly outsource mental and communicat­ive activities to computers.” Our growing technologi­cal dependency will have political ramificati­ons, Harari says. The ruling class of this new world will be people who understand algorithms and biotechnol­ogy. And “the pendulum may swing back to dictatorsh­ips, because it will become easier to process informatio­n centrally.” Tyrants will be able to use technology to “construct a total surveillan­ce regime that follows every individual all the time and surveys not just your emails and your physical movements, but even what’s happening inside your body.”

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