(From The Hindu. Link to the complete article given below)
In the light of his theories about the human future, when Yuval Noah Harari was asked what must politicians be questioned for before elections, he said, “Ask them what will they do to lessen the danger of nuclear war, climate change, regulate AI and bioengineering, and their vision humanity in for 2050,” he said. “And if they don’t answer but keep talking about the past, then don’t vote for them.”
Taking off from his latest book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018), which hit the shelves in August this year, Mr. Harari delivered the Penguin Annual Lecture 2018 in Mumbai on Sunday, titled ‘The New Challenges of the 21st Century’, during which he addressed topics of nationalism, ethical training, climate change, and the need for more philosophers.
To say that Harari’s last three books have been a global success would be an understatement. The author of 2014 bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (translated in 45 languages and sold more than a million copies worldwide), Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016), and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018), has been endorsed by Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and referred to as the “guru of the liberal elites” by the media. In a roundtable interaction with the press before delivering the lecture, the Israeli historian declared that he neither has political skills nor are his books about the immediate politics of any country. “I can’t give particular political advice to any government or how to implement policies,” he said. “But what I try to do is influence the macro agenda of various nations and humanity as a whole.”
One can’t talk about Mr. Harari’s work without contextualising it in today’s socio-political reality — be it his arguments about race, genocide, war, sexuality or artificial intelligence.