Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (58 page)

2.  Intelligence is decoupling from consciousness.

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

These three processes raise three key questions, which I hope will stick in your mind long after you have finished this book:

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?

Notes

1
The New Human Agenda

1
.   Tim Blanning,
The Pursuit of Glory
(New York: Penguin Books, 2008), 52.

2
.   Ibid., 53. See also: J. Neumann and S. Lindgrén, ‘Great Historical Events That Were Significantly Affected by the Weather: 4, The Great Famines in Finland and Estonia, 1695–97’,
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
60 (1979), 775–87; Andrew B. Appleby, ‘Epidemics and Famine in the Little Ice Age’,
Journal of Interdisciplinary History
10:4 (1980), 643–63; Cormac Ó Gráda and Jean-Michel Chevet, ‘Famine and Market in
Ancien Régime
France’,
Journal of Economic History
62:3 (2002), 706–73.

3
.   Nicole Darmon et al., ‘L’insécurité alimentaire pour raisons financières en France’,
Observatoire National de la Pauvreté et de l’Exclusion Sociale
, https://www.onpes.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Darmon.pdf, accessed 3 March 2015; Rapport Annuel 2013,
Banques Alimetaires
, http://en.calameo.com/read/001358178ec47d2018425, accessed 4 March 2015.

4
.   Richard Dobbs et al., ‘How the World Could Better Fight Obesity’, McKinseys & Company, November 2014, accessed 11 December 2014, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/economic_studies/how_the_ world_could_better_fight_obesity.

5
.   ‘Global Burden of Disease, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2013’,
Lancet
, 18 December 2014, accessed 18 December 2014, http://www.thelancet.com/themed/global-burden-of-disease; Stephen Adams, ‘Obesity Killing Three Times As Many As Malnutrition’,
Telegraph
, 13 December 2012, accessed 18 December 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9742960/Obesity-killing-three-times-as-many-as-malnutrition.html.

6
.   Robert S. Lopez,
The Birth of Europe
[in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Dvir, 1990), 427.

7
.   Alfred W. Crosby,
The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of
1492 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1972); William H. McNeill,
Plagues and Peoples
(Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1977).

8
.   Hugh Thomas,
Conquest: Cortes, Montezuma and the Fall of Old Mexico
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993), 443–6; Rodolfo Acuna-Soto et al., ‘Megadrought and Megadeath in 16th Century Mexico’,
Historical Review
8:4 (2002), 360–2; Sherburne F. Cook and Lesley Byrd Simpson,
The Population of Central Mexico in the Sixteenth Century
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1948).

9
.   Jared Diamond,
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
[in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 2002), 167.

10
.  Jeffery K. Taubenberger and David M. Morens, ‘1918 Influenza: The Mother of All Pandemics’,
Emerging Infectious Diseases
12:1 (2006), 15–22; Niall P. A. S. Johnson and Juergen Mueller, ‘Updating the Accounts: Global Mortality of the 1918–1920 “Spanish” Influenza Pandemic’,
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
76:1 (2002), 105–15; Stacey L. Knobler, Alison Mack, Adel Mahmoud et al., (eds),
The Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Are We Ready? Workshop Summary
(Washington DC: National Academies Press, 2005), 57–110; David van Reybrouck,
Congo: The Epic History of a People
(New York: HarperCollins, 2014), 164; Siddharth Chandra, Goran Kuljanin and Jennifer Wray, ‘Mortality from the Influenza Pandemic of 1918–1919: The Case of India’,
Demography
49:3 (2012), 857–65; George C. Kohn,
Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence: From Ancient Times to the Present
, 3rd edn (New York: Facts on File, 2008), 363.

11
.  The averages between 2005 and 2010 were 4.6 per cent globally, 7.9 per cent in Africa and 0.7 per cent in Europe and North America. See: ‘Infant Mortality Rate (Both Sexes Combined) by Major Area, Region and Country, 1950–2010 (Infant Deaths for 1000 Live Births), Estimates’,
World Population Prospects: the
2010
Revision
, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, April 2011, accessed 26 May 2012, http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Excel-Data/mortality.htm. See also Alain Bideau, Bertrand Desjardins and Hector Perez-Brignoli (eds),
Infant and Child Mortality in the Past
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997); Edward Anthony Wrigley et al.,
English Population History from Family Reconstitution,
1580–1837 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 295–6, 303.

12
.  David A. Koplow,
Smallpox: The Fight to Eradicate a Global Scourge
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004); Abdel R. Omran, ‘The Epidemiological Transition: A Theory of Population Change’,
Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly
83:4 (2005), 731–57; Thomas McKeown,
The Modern Rise of Populations
(New York: Academic Press, 1976); Simon Szreter,
Health and Wealth: Studies in History and Policy
(Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2005); Roderick Floud, Robert W. Fogel, Bernard Harris and Sok Chul Hong,
The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition and Human Development in the Western World since
1700 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011); James C. Riley,
Rising Life Expectancy: A Global History
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

13
.  ‘Cholera’, World Health Organization, February 2014, accessed 18 December 2014, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs107/en/index.html.

14
.  ‘Experimental Therapies: Growing Interest in the Use of Whole Blood or Plasma from Recovered Ebola Patients’, World Health Organization, 26 September 2014, accessed 23 April 2015, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/ebola/26-september-2014/en/.

15
.  Hung Y. Fan, Ross F. Conner and Luis P. Villarreal,
AIDS: Science and Society
, 6th edn (Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2011).

16
.  Peter Piot and Thomas C. Quinn, ‘Response to the AIDS Pandemic – A Global Health Model’,
New England Journal of Medicine
368:23 (2013), 2210–18.

17
.  ‘Old age’ is never listed as a cause of death in official statistics. Instead, when a frail old woman eventually succumbs to this or that infection, the particular infection will be listed as the cause of death. Hence, officially, infectious diseases still account for more than 20 per cent of deaths. But this is a fundamentally different situation than in past centuries, when large numbers of children and fit adults died from infectious diseases.

18
.  David M. Livermore, ‘Bacterial Resistance: Origins, Epidemiology, and Impact’,
Clinical Infectious Diseases
36:s1 (2005), s11–23; Richards G. Wax et al. (eds),
Bacterial Resistance to Antimicrobials
, 2nd edn (Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2008); Maja Babic and Robert A. Bonomo, ‘Mutations as a Basis of Antimicrobial Resistance’, in
Antimicrobial Drug Resistance: Mechanisms of Drug Resistance
, ed. Douglas Mayers, vol. 1 (New York: Humana Press, 2009), 65–74; Julian Davies and Dorothy Davies, ‘Origins and Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance’,
Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews
74:3 (2010), 417–33; Richard J. Fair and Yitzhak Tor, ‘Antibiotics and Bacterial Resistance in the 21st Century’,
Perspectives in Medicinal Chemistry
6 (2014), 25–64.

19
.  Alfonso J. Alanis, ‘Resistance to Antibiotics: Are We in the Post-Antibiotic Era?’,
Archives of Medical Research
36:6 (2005), 697–705; Stephan Harbarth and Matthew H. Samore, ‘Antimicrobial Resistance Determinants and Future Control’,
Emerging Infectious Diseases
11:6 (2005), 794–801; Hiroshi Yoneyama and Ryoichi Katsumata, ‘Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria and Its Future for Novel Antibiotic Development’,
Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry
70:5 (2006), 1060–75; Cesar A. Arias and Barbara E. Murray, ‘Antibiotic-Resistant Bugs in the 21st Century – A Clinical Super-Challenge’,
New England Journal of Medicine
360 (2009), 439–43; Brad Spellberg, John G. Bartlett and David N. Gilbert, ‘The Future of Antibiotics and Resistance’,
New England Journal of Medicine
368 (2013), 299–302.

20
.  Losee L. Ling et al., ‘A New Antibiotic Kills Pathogens without Detectable Resistance’,
Nature
517 (2015), 455–9; Gerard Wright, ‘Antibiotics: An Irresistible Newcomer’,
Nature
517 (2015), 442–4.

21
.  Roey Tzezana,
The Guide to the Future
[in Hebrew] (Haifa: Roey Tzezana, 2013), 209–33.

22
.  Azar Gat,
War in Human Civilization
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 130–1; Steven Pinker,
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence
Has Declined
(New York: Viking, 2011); Joshua S. Goldstein,
Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide
(New York: Dutton, 2011); Robert S. Walker and Drew H. Bailey, ‘Body Counts in Lowland South American Violence’,
Evolution and Human Behavior
34:1 (2013), 29–34; I. J. N. Thorpe, ‘Anthropology, Archaeology, and the Origin of Warfare’,
World Archaeology
35:1 (2003), 145–65; Raymond C. Kelly,
Warless Societies and the Origin of War
(Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000); Lawrence H. Keeley,
War before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996); Slavomil Vencl, ‘Stone Age Warfare’, in
Ancient Warfare: Archaeological Perspectives
, ed. John Carman and Anthony Harding (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1999), 57–73.

23
.  ‘Global Health Observatory Data Repository, 2012’, World Health Organization, accessed 16 August 2015, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.RCODWORLD?lang=en; ‘Global Study on Homicide, 2013’, UNDOC, accessed 16 August 2015, http://www.unodc.org/documents/gsh/pdfs/2014_GLOBAL_HOMICIDE_BOOK_web.pdf; http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/estimates/en/index1.html.

24
.  Van Reybrouck,
Congo
, 456–7.

25
.  Deaths from obesity: ‘Global Burden of Disease, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2013’,
Lancet
, 18 December 2014, accessed 18 December 2014, http://www.thelancet.com/themed/global-burden-of-disease; Stephen Adams, ‘Obesity Killing Three Times as Many as Malnutrition’,
Telegraph
, 13 December 2012, accessed 18 December 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9742960/Obesity-killing-three-times-as-many-as-malnutrition.html. Deaths from terrorism: Global Terrorism Database, http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/, accessed 16 January 2016.

26
.  Arion McNicoll, ‘How Google’s Calico Aims to Fight Aging and “Solve Death”’, CNN, 3 October 2013, accessed 19 December 2014, http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/03/tech/innovation/google-calico-aging-death/.

27
.  Katrina Brooker, ‘Google Ventures and the Search for Immortality’,
Bloomberg
, 9 March 2015, accessed 15 April 2015, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-09/google-ventures-bill-maris-investing-in-idea-of-living-to-500.

28
.  Mick Brown, ‘Peter Thiel: The Billionaire Tech Entrepreneur on a Mission to Cheat Death’,
Telegraph
, 19 September 2014, accessed 19 December 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/11098971/Peter-Thiel-the-billionaire-tech-entrepreneur-on-a-mission-to-cheat-death.html.

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