Our times, our challenges

With a plethora of information around and too many stories about man’s  past, present and future, our world view especially about recent future is bound to be blurred, biased and ambiguous. In order to have a clear picture of future world our assessment of things must be rational.

From the author of widely celebrated  Sapiens and  Homo Deus, 21st lessons for 21st century tries to aptly catalyze our thinking process in arriving at answers for most of the issues of immediate future importance. Yuval Noah Harari’s book instead of providing palatable answers tries to engage the reader in critical thinking thus enabling one to enquire about our immediate future.

Unlike Harari’s previous works this book is rather a collection of articles and essays published in various reputed newspapers. Sapiens highlighted man’s past, Homo Deus man’s future. This book mostly contemplates contemporary issues that mankind faces. It is precise, simple, lucid and coherent for the ordinary reader. The author tries to be less academic and specialized. Though some of the observations seem repetition of his previous works, but Harari stokes the conversation very well. Some of the parts of book are like retelling and reinforcing the old story, and Harari’s art of telling his story is engaging, and involving reader earnestly to the end.

From hot topics like nationalism, immigration, fake news, post truth and science fiction the book has everything that a curious mind would try to engage in. “We have no idea what the job market will look like in 2050. Artificial intelligence will almost change every line of work”, says Harari. But he remains some how an optimist that new vistas of opportunities will open, there will be more money  which can be used in providing at least a basic income to a bigger jobless class of people.

His fondness with concepts of big data, algorithms and artificial intelligence find a major place in the book. As a historian his view of past is unmatching, but the way he has discussed the issues very much critical to the future with a novel perspective is most interesting and enjoyable to read.

On ideological front the book has meticulously discussed how liberal theory is facing  a crisis of confidence and losing its global message. With the result many nations and societies have started looking inwards for finding solutions. Whether any such significant solutions to these crisis would come locally, Harai confidently negates.

At a time when many leaders and thinkers are mulling the idea of acting locally the book reinforces a strong belief in “global problems need global answers”. The ecological, technological and nuclear challenges are global and can no way be dealt with locally.

A piquant book that engages reader in a global conversation with several hypothesis about immediate future. The book extricates several technological, social and political intricacies and takes the reader on an intellectual adventure.