Homo Deus

The high school I attended was a small rural school. There were less than 200 students in one grade. Most of the students came from other areas, so most of them stayed in the dorms.

Twelve students entered the dorm room. When I entered the room, the knee-high flatness occupied half, and there was a wooden locker lined up inside one by one. I put up my own blankets on top of that. Each person was given 50 cm wide and 2 m long private space. When sleeping at night, the bedding of each other gradually overlapped. In short, it is not much different from the military quarters.

At the beginning of the third year of high school before the University entrance exam, about half of the friends who lived in the dormitory went to live alone. University admission in South Korea is a very important time in one’s life, and the group life is uncomfortable anyway. I also began to look for a quiet room around high school. After evaluating several places, I eventually settled a small room on the hill opposite the school main gate.

I describe it as a room now, but in fact it was a shabby warehouse attached to a grandmother’s cottage. It was a place where only one person could live in a room with a minimum of furniture. Would it be a little over 3 square meters? When the blanket was unfolded, there was no room left. In addition, there was a moldy smell in the corners of the room.

The March of the countryside was still chilly at night. I had to go to the back of the room and turn on the oil boiler so I could barely sleep. The “booming” boiler sounded loud but still better than the cold. The problem is that when the early dawn comes, the landlady turns off the boiler to save the oil. I woke up at dawn, often feeling cold until April was over.

When I opened my eyes in the deep night, another world unfolded. I heard something moving from one side of the ceiling to the other side of the ceiling. Then, when the landlady’s puppy raised and barked heavily, the sound of the patter ran in the opposite direction. Yes. Somewhere in the ceiling were rats. It was fortunate that I never had to say hello to the rats while I was in the room.

I also had a good point. My room was on the highest hill in the town, so when I went out to the yard, I looked down into the town. The crisp country air was so refreshing to breathe deeply.

By the time I got used to my room, it became hot and humid August. Officially, it was a vacation, but it did not apply to high school third graders. That day I was in class. I often look out of the classroom window to get rid of boredom, but as the lunch time passed, the weather became cloudy and the wind blew hard. The window started to shudder and shudder. I heard from the news that the typhoon was coming a few days ago, and it was because of it.

In the afternoon, I finished the class and left the classroom. There was no umbrella, but fortunately the rain stopped. In anticipation of being able to take a nap, I took my bag and headed for my small room. I walked in front of the gate and reached the narrow road going up to my room. It was a steep alley roughly made of cement. How steep is it? I have to go up about 10m using almost both hands.

I crawled cautiously, stretched my waist and looked forward. But something spread out in front of my eyes. As I look closer, the torn books are rolling on the road. It was not one or two. Some were soaked in rain puddles. When I looked closely, it was a university preparation book. I wondered, ‘Who put the books away like this?’ However, the more I went to my room, the more books I got.

When I arrived in my room I could not shut my mouth with surprise. The ceiling of my room was broken. The ceiling of my room was blown away by the typhoon wind. The books I saw on my way were my books. In addition, my books and notebooks were rolling in front of my room. The landlady also seemed embarrassed. She was wiping the messy floor with a wet cloth.

I was very embarrassed in the months before the test. The book that I studied hard has now become almost obsolete.

But it was strange. At that moment, I felt something like a boil. I bought new books that I lost and made sure to start again from the beginning.

It was already night after I arranged the room that was messy. I saw stars in the night sky over a holey ceiling. Although it was a midsummer, the night air that permeated the moonlight was pretty cool. When was the last time I could sleep, counting the stars in the night sky?

There were some new discoveries, while others disappeared. Since that night, I could not hear the rats running on the ceiling. Maybe the rats were flying in a typhoon. I guess so.

This story is almost twenty years old. I often remember the time when the wind blows out of the windows these days. And I think that ‘the time has passed a lot’. Well, it is not easy to see the ceiling of a house flying by typhoon these days.

We live in a safer environment than ever before. In Seoul, you can be stressed by the noise from the upper level of the apartment, but the ceiling itself does not worry about flying. As long as you do not go camping on vacation, you will not be able to sleep while watching the night sky.

On the other hand, this was not the case during most of human history. The primitive man, who lived in the same space as us at another time, would have to go to the cave to avoid the rainstorm every night, and in the day of the typhoon it would have been overwhelmed by the tremendous power of nature. But now it has become a distant past.

All of this is due to the power of civilization. Civilization can only be carried out by human beings among all animals on the earth. Thanks to civilization, humans have become the most influential creatures on the planet.

How could humans achieve civilization that other animals on earth could not even imitate? This was made possible by human intellectual ability.

If so, what is the specific intellectual power of a human being? What made the destiny of humans and other animals different? There are three main aspects to this.

First, humans are rational. Rational thinking is the most important feature that distinguishes humans from other animals. So, Homo Sapiens, the zoological name of modern human beings, has the meaning of “reasonably thinking mankind.”

We humans try to understand the world in front of them. In addition, we continually review and confirm that what we understand is logical.

Second, human beings have the ability to cooperate with each other. Together, they build cities and launch spaceships.

Of course, many other animals, such as bees and hyenas, also live together. Therefore, it can be said that they have the ability to cooperate. It is a reasonable indication. But there is a big difference between human cooperation and other animal cooperation.

Other animals cooperate in a certain way according to instinct. On the other hand, humans cooperate in new ways according to their own needs. Animal cooperation is predetermined by genes, whereas human cooperation is the result of adaptation to circumstances.

Third, humans create and understand concepts that do not really exist in the world. It is a fictional concept. This is the result of abstract thinking. For example, money, religion, politics, and so on.

The reason you can buy lunch for $ 10 bills is because you and the restaurant owner all believe it is worth it. People go to church on weekends because they believe what is written in the Bible. Likewise, the president can be the president because people agree with the legitimacy of that position. If this belief and consensus collapses, money, religion, and political power can not be maintained.

But this is not a natural thing. It is a fictional concept made entirely of the human brain. When human beings give value to and follow the fictitious concept, the fictitious concept becomes the driving force of cooperation.

In short, human beings have invented these fictional concepts, and they have become the most influential creatures on the planet by gathering and cooperating with them. They built cities and developed science. They greatly increased the production of food and developed new medicines. As the material became more available, the war for looting was reduced compared to before. Mankind could slowly escape from the shadow of hunger, plague, and war that harassed them. This is the reality of the civilization that humanity has achieved so far.

Then, what will be the future of humanity? The Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari wants to answer that question in his book Homo Deus Yuval Noah Harari | Harvill Secker | 2016. Especially focusing on the emergence of artificial intelligence, the author thinks about what future humanity will be like.

The author claims that humans who solve the pressing problems of hunger, epidemics, and wars will pursue immortality, happiness, and ultimately try to have their own divine status. In Homo Deus, ‘Deus’ means God in Latin. So Homo Deus can be interpreted as a “God Human”.

The god that the author refers to here is not a god of Christian monotheism. Rather, it is closer to the god of polytheism such as ancient Greek mythology. Therefore, in ‘God Human’, ‘God’ refers not to the god of religious meaning, but to the person who obtained ultimate power through technology.

What is the technology that will make human beings gods? The first is biotechnology. Biotechnology directly enhances human animal characteristics. It prolongs human life and improves body function.

On the other hand, we need to pay attention to another technology. It is artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, like biotechnology, has evolved with the expectation that it will improve human capabilities. It is a more ambitious technique in that it makes the improvement of the intellectual ability which is the key to distinguishing between human and other animals.

But what about it? Our position on the emergence of artificial intelligence today is not merely pleasant. We are anxious over expectations that we will have new abilities.

Let’s think for a moment here. Why are we afraid of artificial intelligence? The most common answer is that in the near future artificial intelligence will outperform humans.

But can superior intelligence itself be the reason for fear? An electronic calculator is far superior to the human intellectual ability itself, but no one is afraid of an electronic calculator.

The reason for fear of artificial intelligence is not intellectual ability. Fear of artificial intelligence is about having self-consciousness when artificial intelligence goes beyond a certain level. We are concerned that artificial intelligence will then treat humans as tools.

Then let me ask you one more thing. Why do we expect artificial intelligence to deal with humans as a tool if they have their own self-consciousness? What is the basis for supposing that artificial intelligence will harm human dignity? Does not high intelligence or self-consciousness have the same meaning as exclusive inclination.

호모_데우스I would like to say that we can now find the reason we are worried that artificial intelligence would be exclusive to humans in our human behavior now. Let us recall what our humans are doing to other animals.

On the earth, a greater number of cattle, chickens and pigs than humans are deprived of their natural lives and live a life of becoming human food.

According to the results of a number of studies, it is estimated that 100 million tons of all large animals in the world today are weighed. (A large animal is an animal that weighs in kilograms, such as cattle, chickens, and pigs.) On the other hand, all of our humans are about 300 million tons. By the way, the livestock belonging to humans is about 700 million tons. In short, most of what we call animals is livestock for human beings.

The problem is that the environment for raising livestock is very poor for animals as it focuses on human needs. Many animals live in a small prison that can not even move for a lifetime. Then, when they are moved to the slaughterhouse, they leave.

In a bad environment, animals become vulnerable to various infectious diseases. However, if an epidemic develops, it is not an amendment to the unhygienic breeding environment that caused it. They bury the living creatures that are sick or do not know they may be sick in the future.

In short, our humans have been thoroughly instrumentalizing other animals with the use of high intelligence. In the process, their emotions and their dignity as life were completely ignored. We regarded their life as not life.

It is time to see artificial intelligence with higher intelligence than we now. Someday, it may become self-conscious like a human being. As we did with cows, pigs and chickens, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that artificial intelligence will do to us.

It is the source of fear that we feel about artificial intelligence. Just as we sacrificed other animals, we were afraid that we would be sacrificed. In the groaning of sick baby pigs buried in the ground with excavators, we experience indirectly the future of our human being dominated by artificial intelligence.

So you do not have to worry that artificial intelligence will treat us like a tool. It is first of all that we do not harass weak beings. Because we will get back what we did.

It is not bullshit. It is very easy to understand and simple argument. The syllogism summarizes this. First, human-made things reflect human world view. Second, artificial intelligence is created by human beings. Third, human world view is reflected in artificial intelligence.

The artificial intelligence created by human beings, who have made weaker creatures a tool than themselves, inherits such a habit of humans and will eventually turn human beings into a tool.

The only way we will not be treated as tools from artificial intelligence in the near future. It is that we do not force weak creatures to become tools. The weak creature may be an animal, but it can be human.


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