Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2017
In antiquity, a prophet was a person who could see the hand of God moving in history. Dr. Harari leads us to redefine ‘prophet’ as a historian who sees the hand of technology moving in history. This is a compelling and very well-written book. I received it in the mail from at noon and finished it the next day at 4 PM. Although I ordered both of his books, this one came first and as a long-retired professor of ancient history, Western art and culture, and Classical civilizations, I simply could not resist its sub-title: A Brief History of Tomorrow. The book is a thorough exploration of the economic and religious currents driven by the accelerating advance of technology in our time. The world today is a largely free market capitalist economy worshipping the religion of secular humanism. This pair has brought Homo Sapiens to for the first time since the invention of agriculture and hence civilization, to a world largely free of famine, plague, and war. What’s to conquer next, death? Can we become Homo Deus, or will the technology we must depend on to achieve that goal get ahead of us and itself sit in the driver’s seat of history as a new religion of Dataism? One could easily mine this 400 page book for a 200 page book of pithy one-liners. My favorite, perhaps because I long taught this in my classes was: “Radical Islam poses no serious threat to the liberal package, because for all their fervor the zealots don’t really understand the world of the twenty-first century, and have nothing relevant to say about the novel dangers and the opportunities that new technologies are generating all around us.” They are blindsided by the very modernity they reject, and it will leave them behind like the Madhist rebellion and its Islamic state in the Sudan in the late 1900s was left behind. Sure, they will kill a lot of Westerners and many more Middle Easterners, but they too will pass into oblivion. This book is a must read for the historian, the theologian, and the technologist. Unlike Alexander Graham Bell, we will not one day say: “What hath God wrought,” but rather “What have we wrought.”
Peter C. Patton, Ph.D.
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