It is a fact, many now argue, that the ‘last days’ of Homo sapiens ‘are fast approaching’. Absent some unforeseeable calamity, our species will be replaced ‘by completely different beings who possess not only different physiques, but also very different cognitive and emotional worlds’.
The current version of Homo sapiens will become surplus to economic and military requirements.
War will be waged by drones and work will be done by robots: ‘Some economists predict that sooner or later, unenhanced humans will be completely useless.’
Algorithms embedded in silicon and metal will replace algorithms embedded in flesh, which, Harari reminds us, is what biology and computer science tell us is all we really are anyway. In the argot of Silicon Valley, now-useless human beings are just ‘meat puppets’. New life forms will be created, breaking the chain which – from protozoa to Homo sapiens – made life an exclusive function of organic compounds. Harari sees all this as an index of the great ‘decoupling’ of intelligence and consciousness that is being brought about by advances in artificial intelligence.