Summary Series: Sapiens - P4, Ch20

Posted on July 10, 2018 by Janey Muñoz
Tags: nonfiction, Sapiens, reading, summary, modern-thinkers

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Part 4: The Scientific Revolution, Chapter 20: The End of Homo Sapiens


Today’s humans are on the cusp of fully overcoming the constraints of their biology. Technological advancements, stores of knowledge, and democratisation of access to said tools has given humanity the potential to not only prolong the onset of death, but perhaps also transcend being human.

If [life is ruled by intelligent design], the whole of human history up to that point might, with hindsight, be reinterpreted as a process of experimentation and apprenticeship that revolutionised the game of life.

The biological engineering of genetic information, augmentation of humans with artificial body parts, and development machines that are capable of interfacing and thinking in a manner congruous to humans will all likely contribute to the outcome of humanity, whatever it may be. Technological gains in these sectors are being made now, and will likely continue to be made, at such a rate that many scholars, philosophers, and politicians are worriedly wondering whether society is ready or able to handle the changes.

Our late modern world prides itself on recognising, for the first time in history, the basic equality of all humans, yet it might be poised to create the most unequal of all societies.

How is privacy of one’s DNA managed? Will unnaturally augmenting one’s body to be superhuman be a right, like healthcare today is often considered a right? What value does the conscious experience have?

What happens to concepts such as the self and gender identity when minds become collective?

All of these questions are geared toward the understanding of Homo sapiens within the context of modern society, and are worthy to be considered; however, there is perhaps a grander question that is begging attention: after us, who, or what will come, and what legacy do we hope to pass on to those inheritors?

More Quotes

Most of the organisms now being engineered are those with the weakest political lobbies - plants, fungi, bacteria and insects.

the field of bioethics prefers to address another question, ‘What is forbidden to do?’

The Fine Print

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