Algorithms Will Decide The Future

Algorithm: a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

I recently read “Homo Deus“, a book by Yuval Noah Harari. It explores the idea that humans may simply be algorithmic decision making systems. AKA self-aware, self-learning algorithms. There are many parallels between a human and a computer algorithm.

The author says there are organic (human) and non-organic (machine) algorithms. Non-organic algorithms will someday have far more capability than organic algorithms. In some cases, such as diagnosing medical conditions, they already do.

He also recaps the history of humanity, which was a trend towards Humanism, the misguided notion that humans can know themselves. The reality is that algorithms will likely know us better than we could ever know ourselves in the future, according to the author. Note: he is very well credentialed in his studies of human history.

Going forward, he predicts a shift from humanism towards dataism or techno-humanism. Basically, algorithms and data will know us better than we know ourselves. Therefore, machine algorithms will be better qualified to make decisions for us than ourselves. And many (if not all) of our choices will be made by powerful non-organic algorithms.

Everything we do, decided by a machine to maximize health, happiness, and optimal living. The idea of a human’s entire life being driven by algorithms sounds dystopian to me, but the author makes a convincing case.

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