Yuval Noah Harari: the myth of freedom

Governments and corporations will soon know you better than you know yourself. Belief in the idea of ‘free will’ has become dangerous

Should scholars serve the truth, even at the cost of social harmony? Should you expose a fiction even if that fiction sustains the social order? In writing my latest book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, I had to struggle with this dilemma with regard to liberalism.

On the one hand, I believe that the liberal story is flawed, that it does not tell the truth about humanity, and that in order to survive and flourish in the 21st century we need to go beyond it. On the other hand, at present the liberal story is still fundamental to the functioning of the global order. What’s more, liberalism is now attacked by religious and nationalist fanatics who believe in nostalgic fantasies that are far more dangerous and harmful.

The main challenge liberalism faces today comes not from fascism or communism but from the laboratories

If governments succeed in hacking the human animal, the easiest people to manipulate will be those who believe in free will

Related: Yuval Noah Harari extract: ‘Humans have always lived in the age of post-truth. We’re a post-truth species’

If we understood that our desires are not the outcome of free choice, we would hopefully be less preoccupied with them

Related: Are we about to witness the most unequal societies in history?

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Source: The Guardian – Artificial intelligence