Thursday, July 06, 2017

Talk to the Animals

Harari posits that it is likely that our ancestors, like hunter-gatherers who survived to nearly modern times, were animists. Sentience was attributed to animals, trees, and even rocks and rivers. The rise of agriculture and its theist religions (Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity and countless others, now mostly lost), led to a devaluing of animals and also "lower" humans (slaves, serfs and commoners). Harari is a strong critic of industrial animal husbandry and the way it treats animals.

He adds:

In recent years, as people began to rethink human–animal relations, such practices have come under increasing criticism. We are suddenly showing unprecedented interest in the fate of so-called lower life forms, perhaps because we are about to become one. If and when computer programs attain superhuman intelligence and unprecedented power, should we begin valuing these programs more than we value humans?

Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 99). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Perhaps more to the point, how will they feel about us?