Humankind and Technology

It is Christmas and New Year’s eve and an excellent time to think about what we are going to read in 2022.
In December’s newsletter, we want to suggest four different and exciting books. They combine history, anthropology, economic development, or the impact of technology in our civilization. They provide for an array of arguments and reflections that together can bring a comprehensive approach that helps us to connect the dawn of humanity with how artificial intelligence can challenge our abilities as human beings; the case of innovators that were confronted by ethics during their path to scientific discovery; and a beautiful and inspiring book about transatlantic slavey – 12 million people were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean – and how it worked to reshape the world. As Financial Times writes, this book offers “a monumental argument for the centrality of Africa to the emergence of our modern world” where Africa “was not at all peripheral to, but played a central role in, the emergence of the Age of Discovery.” We will also find in its pages some references to how the Portuguese exported know-how built in the Canaries to America.
For the last recommendation of this year, we have chosen The Age of A.I.: And Our Human Future, by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt and Daniel Huttenlocher (MIT). This is a controversial 10-years prediction about what’s next with artificial intelligence and how we should be ready for what it is coming. It is pretty stimulating to have a former U.S Secretary of State and the former CEO of Google discussing about how individuals and society are ready to the unexpected regarding technological changes that are impacting the way we live, work or the process of decision taken.
Certainly, we will not have time enough to read all of them in a row. But we must be aware of some of the central ideas that these authors have analyzed and developed if we want to understand the complex world we are living, which direction we are heading into, and have some good criteria to avoid bad discussions and political tensions that will be more and more polarizing.

Happy New Year 2022!

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