Attending a Book Club

I went to a book club for the first time. The discussion was about Harari’s latest book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century”. I didn’t read the book but I read his first book “Sapiens”.

The attendees said that most of the ideas are repetitive from Sapiens and Homo Deus. It makes sense as I don’t expect someone to publish many original thoughts in 3 books over 3 years. I got the same feedback on Homo Deus already so wasn’t expecting much.

Big part of the discussion was on the dangers of AI. While most of the attendees were tech people, I felt they were exaggerating the dangers of AI on humanity. I still think with every technology wave be it the industrial revolution, the world wars, the personal computers, and the internet there was fear of people losing their jobs. It is true that some couldn’t adapt and lost the jobs but the sum of opportunities was far greater. I think the same will happen with AI. I understand it might be harder to adapt to the new world, but I think it was the same with personal computers and we ended up fine.

Another discussion was on whether capitalism is the right system in the technological era. Most saw it is not. Yes the wealth gap is increasing, but I still believe in capitalism making everyone’s life better.

We also discussed belonging and nationalism. This reminded me of a discussion I had with a friend earlier. He told me I have the solution to all human wars and problems. I expected him to say something stupid. Then he said “We need a new enemy. If aliens attack earth tomorrow, we will all be united to fight the aliens”. It is true to big extent.

Overall it was an interesting experience.