“Never Underestimate Human Stupidity” – Historian Whose Books Read By Bill Gates & Barack Obama

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Jul 16 2018
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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former U.S. President Barack Obama read and recommended his books. And now this historian has an important lesson to the entire human race on planet Earth – “One thing that history teaches us is that we should never underestimate human stupidity. It’s one of the most powerful forces in the world.”


Historian Yuval Harari is the Israeli historian who authored two dazzling bestsellers on the state of mankind. A professor at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he highlighted humanity’s collective rush towards self-destruction. He explained how there was a time when war was the only answer. But since the end of World War II, there have been no major battles.


He said – “For the first time in history, you are your worst enemies. Fewer people died in 2017 due to UN violence than due to obesity, car accidents and suicides. Statistically, you have a greater chance of killing yourself than any soldier or terrorist. Sugar is a greater danger than gunpowder. You are more likely to die from drinking too much cola than being blown up by al-Qaeda. And this is very good news.”

Yuval Noah Harari - Historian and Professor

“Of course, there is no guarantee that this state of affairs will continue. This achievement, made possible by global cooperation of nations, must be protected. You should never underestimate human stupidity. It’s one of the most powerful forces in human history,” said Yuval Harari.


Mr Harari expressed concern about the ability of populist leaders – a group he described as “selling people nostalgic fantasies about the past instead of real visions for the future” – to solve today’s biggest global problems. He said – “Nuclear war is a possibility. Climate change is here, and now, making it a more immediate threat to the existence of humans.”


“Homo sapiens have proven to be ecological serial killers for thousands of years. We are responsible for the extinction of numerous plants and animals. Now we are putting in danger the survival of our species as well as much of life on earth. Climate change and ecological collapse are a present reality. It is already happening all around us.” – said the historian.

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He said the 3 biggest “existential” problems faced by the world today are global in nature – Nuclear War, Climate Change and Technological Disruption. “These problems have only global solutions, and so far, we haven’t heard anything on the global level from these kinds of leaders that offers a real solution.” – Harari said.


“It could end up very badly. They put at risk the very survival of human civilization so if we don’t come up with a solution; we are in really deep problem. You can’t trust humans and even human leaders to do what is best for humanity. You can hope for it, but it’s not certain.” – claimed the professor from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


On the subject of humanity’s future alongside technological advancements, Harari said history has shown that such developments have the power to change the world but are “never deterministic” on their own. While the last big revolution brought discoveries such as trains, cars, electricity and television, Hariri said “it didn’t tell us what to do with it.”

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Advancements in AI (artificial intelligence) and bioengineering are two key challenges of the future. He said –  “AI may completely disrupt the global job market as computers and robots outperform humans. Billions of people may be pushed out of the job market. And we will see the creation of an enormous new class – the useless class.”


“Just as the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century created the urban working class, the automation revolution of the 21st century may create the ‘Useless Class’. Useless, not from the perspective of their loved ones, but from the economic and political viewpoint. There could be millions of people who have no economic value and hence, no political power,” – said the historian.


However, Hariri said humanity still has a choice on how the emerging technologies will be used. “This is the job of governments,” he said, noting that the problem lies with many governments around the world focusing on “old problems” and placing insufficient focus on the potential of emerging technologies.

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Professor Yuval Noah Harari’s international bestsellers include “Sapiens: A brief history of humankind” which tells the story of the Homo Sapiens from the time, around hundred thousand years ago, when they were not even the most important human species on earth, to the present while “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow is about humanity’s future on this planet.


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