Rich people will become immortal ‘god-like’ cyborgs in 200 years – historian
Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the merger of humans and machines would be the greatest evolution since the appearance of life.
He added the greatest minds in computer engineering already believe death is a mere technological problem with a solution.
Harari said advances in technology will enable humans to become god-like creatures, as different from today’s humans as chimpanzees are from us.
The historian is author of the acclaimed Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind, a book which has already been translated into more than 30 languages.
Harari was speaking at the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts in Wales, one of the UK’s most prominent cultural events.
During his talk, Harari said humans are programmed to be dissatisfied in life. Even when humans gain pleasure and achievements, they want more.
“I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so Homo sapiens will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering of by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic,” he told the audience.
“It will be the greatest evolution in biology since the appearance of life. Nothing really has changed in four billion years biologically speaking. But we will be as different from today’s humans as chimps are now from us.”
However, Harari said only the wealthiest would benefit from ‘cyborg’ technology, making the gap between rich and poor in society even wider.
In the future the rich may be immortal while the poor would die out, he said.
Harari’s book argues that humans are successful as a species because of their imagination and ability to create fictions.
He cites religion, money and the concept of human rights as “fictions” which hold society together but have no basis in nature.
Speaking at Hay, he said: “God is extremely important because without religious myth you can’t create society. Religion is the most important invention of humans. As long as humans believed they relied more and more on these gods they were controllable.
“But what we see in the last few centuries is humans becoming more powerful and they no longer need the crutches of the gods. Now we are saying we do not need God, just technology.
“The most interesting place in the world from a religious perspective is not the Middle East, it’s Silicon Valley where they are developing a techno-religion. They believe even death is just a technological problem to be solved,” he added.