Homo Deus: Meaning and Implications

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Homo Deus" by Yuval Noah Harari. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is the meaning of the term Homo Deus? Do you think our species Homo Sapiens will eventually evolve into Homo Deus?

The term Homo Deus was coined by Yuval Noah Harari to refer to the human species that will come after Homo Sapiens. In his book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Harari unpacks the meaning of Homo Deus and explores its implications for society at large.

Keep reading to understand Homo Deus, its meaning, and the implications according to Yuval Noah Harari.

The Meaning of Homo Deus

Over millennia, human beings evolved from Homo erectus, primitive humans that closely resembled primates, to Homo sapiens, modern-day human beings. We evolved from struggling to figure out the wheel to exploring the stars. While this extreme transformation is impressive, it’s likely not our final form. According to Yuval Noah Harari, the next step of humanity’s evolution will take us from Homo sapiens to Homo deus, or god-like beings. But, what’s the meaning of Homo deus.

The creation of Homo Deus will likely be the result of a small, elite group of people upgrading their bodies and brains with biotechnology, creating a more powerful biological caste. If this comes to pass, the experiences of Homo Deus and Homo Sapiens will be inherently different and unrelatable. For example, if a Homo Deus has a chip implanted into their brain that allows them to access data from the internet, the way they experience the world is going to be completely different from the average human.

Harari predicts that biological enhancement will just be the first step toward the god-like status of Homo Deus. Cybernetic augmentation will likely follow biological manipulation. Cybernetic augmentation is the combining of organic and inorganic materials in the human body. This would allow people to remove parts of the body that are threatened by decay and replace them with more durable material. It would also allow people to interact with technology around the world with just their thoughts. While this may sound like something out of Star Trek, people have already begun to combine inorganic materials with their bodies. In the medical field, cybernetic limbs and hearts are used to sustain life. In the technological field, “mind-reading” helmets allow people to control devices with their thoughts.

Inorganic assimilation may follow cybernetic augmentation. Inorganic assimilation is the process of moving one’s consciousness into an inorganic body. Neural networks would be replaced with hardware, and people could live in both the physical and virtual worlds at the same time. For example, if a human mind could be transferred to an inorganic body, the newly formed being could hypothetically explore the internet, see out of connected cameras, and move their new form using the electrical impulses generated from the brain. This would allow humanity to abandon its organic form and become practically immortal. Space exploration and recolonization would become a more realistic concept as inorganic material can survive harsher environments than flesh and bone.

Homo Deus: Meaning and Implications

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Here's what you'll find in our full Homo Deus summary :

  • Why technology is replacing humanist ideals
  • How previous generations relied on prayer to deal with serious problems
  • How AI and algorithms are going to run the world

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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