Ordinary people may not understand artificial intelligence and biotechnology in any detail, but they can sense that the future is passing them by. In 1938 the common man’s condition in the Soviet Union, Germany, or the United States may have been grim, but he was constantly told that he was the most important thing in the world, and that he was the future (provided, of course, that he was an “ordinary man,” rather than, say, a Jew or a woman). He looked at the propaganda posters—which typically depicted coal miners and steelworkers in heroic poses—and saw himself there: “I am in that poster! I am the hero of the future!”In 2018 the common person feels increasingly irrelevant. Lots of mysterious terms are bandied about excitedly in ted Talks, at government think tanks, and at high-tech conferences—globalization, blockchain, genetic engineering, AI, machine learning—and common people, both men and women, may well suspect that none of these terms is about them.In the 20th century, the masses revolted against exploitation and sought to translate their vital role in the economy into political power. Now the masses fear irrelevance, and they are frantic to use their remaining political power before it is too late. Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump may therefore demonstrate a trajectory opposite to that of traditional socialist revolutions. The Russian, Chinese, and Cuban revolutions were made by people who were vital to the economy but lacked political power; in 2016, Trump and Brexit were supported by many people who still enjoyed political power but feared they were losing their economic worth. Perhaps in the 21st century, populist revolts will be staged not against an economic elite that exploits people but against an economic elite that does not need them anymore. This may well be a losing battle. It is much harder to struggle against irrelevance than against exploitation.
The fear of irrevelence that harari talks about is indeed real but it is the fear of the sociologists against the technologists. Harari and his ilk of sociologists understand that the relationship between the two groups is tenuous at the moment with the technologists threatening to break away from such ground bounding sensibilities that the sociologists are wont to bandy about.
The revolutions in information technology and biotechnology are still in their infancy, and the extent to which they are responsible for the current crisis of liberalism is debatable. Most people in Birmingham, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, and Mumbai are only dimly aware, if they are aware at all, of the rise of AI and its potential impact on their lives. It is undoubtable, however, that the technological revolutions now gathering momentum will in the next few decades confront humankind with the hardest trials it has yet encountered.
Which is why Harari,a history professor understands the finer implications of technological progress....makes perfect sense.
AI frightens many people because they don’t trust it to remain obedient. Science fiction makes much of the possibility that computers or robots will develop consciousness—and shortly thereafter will try to kill all humans. But there is no particular reason to believe that AI will develop consciousness as it becomes more intelligent. We should instead fear AI because it will probably always obey its human masters, and never rebel. AI is a tool and a weapon unlike any other that human beings have developed; it will almost certainly allow the already powerful to consolidate their power further.
Here he progresses to unleash his inner sci-fi/horror writer, which may or may not be the level of understanding of the entire sociology class.
The rest of the article details more of this infantile fascination with the artifishul interregens and how the layman should prepare for a revolt for his rights.
Now this is the problem I have with sociologists, they all compare marx and smiths c*ck, their length, girth, pointedness, taste and spend their entire life forming groups to influence the viewpoint of others. The studies may be fascinating, I suppose, but they are hardly useful to human society at large, and can also be considered as a exhaustive debate on the best ninja turtle. Our sociologists too buy membership to one or the other opposing group, and instead of designing policies to help our own downtrodden, provide data points to a pointless feud.
The other issue is about the authority of a sociologist to question the progress of the technologist. Technologists do not question the veracity of reports like "How the wrong size of bras led to the rise of the fourth wave feminists" or " How sindoor is the number one cause of womens death in a patriarchal society like caste ridden India". Why then should the sociologists intervene when bio technology and ai( the bogeymen to paraphrase harari's article) are progressing.
Already, the retardation of hard sciences with touchy feely soft "sciences" has created a rights "first" society, and with the ever inward looking tendency of the sociologists will create a cloistered human mindset which would be our downfall.
Now onto harari, his book sapiens was a fine read for the entire quarter that i read, but while it gave blows to christianity(primarily) and islam, dharmic religions sometimes, it had a glaring omission of judaism; surely harari must have heard about it, yet it is as if they do not exist or rather it was a history of humans belonging to all other religions viewed through judaism tinted glasses. In short, a biased book marketed as the history of humans.