Professor Yuval Noah Harari on "Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide"

Professor Yuval Noah Harari on "Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide"



hello so welcome to this TED dialogues the first of a series that's really we've done in response to the current political upheaval I don't know about you I've become quite concerned about the growing divisive nurse in this country and in the world no one's listening to each other right they aren't when it feels like we need a different kind of conversation one that's based on I don't know one reason listening on understanding on a broader context that's at least what we're gonna try in these TED dialogues starting today and we couldn't have anyone with us who I'd be more excited to kick this off this is a mind right here that thinks pretty much like no one else on the planet serious he he synthesizes history with underlying ideas in a way that kind of takes your breath away so some of you will know this book sapiens there's anyone here read sapiens I mean I I could not put it down the way that he tells the story of mankind through big ideas that really make you think differently but it's it's it's kind of amazing and here's the follow-up which I think is is being published in the US next week yeah next week homo Deus and how this is the history of the next hundred years I've had a chance to read it it's it's extremely dramatic and I dare say for some people quite alarming it's a must read and honestly we couldn't have someone better to help make sense of what on earth is happening in the world right now so a warm welcome please to Yvonne Noah Harare it's great to be joined by our friends on Facebook and around the web hello Facebook and all of you as as I start asking questions of you've all come up with your own questions I'm not necessarily about the political scandal du jour but about the the broader understanding of of where are we heading you ready okay we're gonna go so here we are we've our New York City 2017 there's a new president in power and shock waves rippling around the world what on earth is happening I think the basic thing that happens is that we have lost our story humans think in stories and we try to make sense of the world by telling stories and for the last few decades we had a very simple and very attractive story about what's happening in the world and the story said that oh what's happening is that the economy is being globalized politics is being liberalized and the combination of the two will create paradise on earth and we just need to keep on globalizing the economy and liberalizing the political system and everything will be wonderful and 2016 is the moment when a very large segment even of the Western world stopped believing in this story for good or bad reason doesn't matter people stopped believing in this story and when you don't have a story you don't understand what's happening hmm I mean part of you believes that that story was actually a very effective story it was to some extent yes I mean in some according to some measurements we are now in the best time ever for humankind today for the first time in history more people die from eating too much than from eating too little which is an amazing achievement also for the first time in history more people die from old age than from infectious diseases and violence is also down for the first time in history more people commit suicide than are killed by crime and terrorism and war put together statistically you are your own worst enemy at least on all the people in the world you're most likely to be killed by yourself which is again very good news compared compared to the level of violence that we saw in previous eras but this process of connecting the world ended up with with a large group of people kind of feeling left out and and they've reacted and so we have this bomb this bombshell that sort of ripping through the whole system I mean how do you make of what's happened it feels like the old way that people thought of politics you know the left-right divide has been blown up and replaced how should we think of this yeah the old 20th century political model of left versus right is now largely irrelevant and the real divide a is between global and national or global or local and you see it again all over the world that this is now the main struggle we probably need completely new political models and completely new ways of thinking about politics in essence what you can what you can say is that we now have global ecology we have a global economy but we have national politics and this doesn't work together this makes the political system ineffective because it has no control over the forces that shape our life and you have basically two solutions to this imbalance either to globalize the economy and turn it back into a national economy or globalized the political system so some I guess many liberals out there view Trump and his his government as kind of irredeemably bad just just awful and every in every way do you see any underlying narrative of or political philosophy in there that is at least worth understanding how would you articulate that that philosophy is it just the philosophy of nationalism I think the underlying feeling or idea is that the Pali tickler system something is broken there it doesn't empower the ordinary person anymore it doesn't care so much about the ordinary person anymore and I think this diagnosis of the political disease is correct with regard to the answers I'm far less certain I think what we are saying is the immediate human reaction if something doesn't work let's go back and you see it all over the world that people and almost nobody in the political system today has any future-oriented vision of humankind is going almost everywhere you see retrograde vision let's make America great again like it was great I don't know in the 50s in the 80s sometime let's go back there and you go to Russia so Harvard years after Lenin Putin's vision for the future is basically now let's go back to the Tsarist Empire and in israel or emery i come from the hottest political vision of the present is let's build the temple again so let's go back 2,000 years backwards so people are thinking sometimes in the past we've lost it and sometimes in the past let's like you lost your way in the city and you say okay let's go back to the point where i felt secure and start again and i don't think this can work but a lot of people this is their gut instinct but why couldn't it work I mean America first is a very appealing slogan and in many ways patriotism is is in many ways a very noble thing it's played a role in in promoting cooperation among large numbers of people why why couldn't you have a world organized in countries all of which put themselves first um for many centuries even thousands of years our patriotism worked quite well of course it led to Wars and so forth but we shouldn't focus too much on the bed there are also many many positive things about patriotism and the ability to have a large number of people care about each other sympathized with one another and come together for collective action if you go back to the First Nations so thousands of years ago the people who live along the Yellow River in China it was many many different tribes and they all dependent on the river for survival and for prosperity but there all of them also suffered from periodical floods and periodical droughts and no tribe could really do anything about it because each of them controlled just a tiny section of the river and then in a long and complicated process the tribes coalesced together to form the Chinese nation which controlled the entire Yellow River and had the ability to bring hundreds of thousands people together to build dams and canals and and regulate the river and prevent the worst floods and droughts and raise the level of prosperity for everybody and this worked in many places around the world but in the 21st century technology is changing all that in a fundamental way we are now living all people in the world are living alongside the same cyber River and no single nation can regulate this River by itself we are all living together in a single planet which is threatened by our own actions and if you don't have some kind of global cooperation nationalism just is not on the right level to tackle the problems of whether its climate change or whether its technological disruption so it was a beautiful idea and in a world where most of the action was to the issues took place on national scale but your argument is that the issues that matter most today no longer take place on an on a national scale but on on a global scale exactly are all the major problems of the world today are global in essence and they cannot be solved unless through Glo some kind of global cooperation it's not just climate change which is like the most obvious example people give I think more in terms of technological disruption if you think about for example artificial intelligence over the next 20-30 years pushing hand of millions of people out of the job market this is a problem on a global level it will disrupt the entire economy of all the countries and similarly if you think about say bioengineering and people being afraid of conducting a nano genetic engineering research and humans it won't help if just a single country outlaw let's say the us outlaws all genetic experiments on humans but China or North Korea continues to do it so the u.s. cannot solve it by itself and very quickly the pressure on the u.s. to do the same will be immense because we are talking about high risk high gain technologies if somebody else is doing it I can't allow myself to remain behind the only way to have regulations effective regulations on things like genetic engineering is to have global regulations if you just have national regulations nobody would like to stay behind so this is really interesting so it seems to me this this may be one key to provoking at least a constructive conversation between the different sides here because I think everyone can agree that the start point of a lot of the anger that's propelled us to where we are is because of the legitimate concerns about job loss workers gone a traditional way of life has has gone and and and it's no wonder that people are furious about that and in general they have they have blamed the sort of global globalism global elites for doing this to them without asking their permission and that seems like a legitimate complaint but what I hear you saying is that so a key question is what is the real cause of job loss both now and going forward to the extent that it's about globalism then the right response yes is to shut down borders and keep people out and change trade agreements and so forth but you're saying I think that actually the bigger cause of of job loss is is not going to be that at all it's going to be it's going to originate in technological questions and we have no chance of solving that unless we operate as a connected world yeah I think that um I don't know about the present but looking to the future it's not the Mexicans or Chinese who will take the jobs from the people in Pennsylvania it's the robot in algorithms so unless you plan to build a big wall on the border of California the wall on the border is Mexico is going to be very ineffective and I was struck when I when I watched the debates before the elections I was struck that certainly Trump did not even attempt to frighten people by saying the robots will take your jobs now even if it's not true it doesn't matter it's if it could have extremely effective way of frightening people and galvanizing people the robots will take your jobs and nobody use that line and it's it made me afraid because it meant that no matter what happens in universities and laboratories and there is already an intense debate about it but in the mainstream political system and among the general public people are just unaware that there could be an immense technological disruption not in two hundred years but in 10 20 30 years and we have to do something about it now partly because most of what we teach children today in school or in college is going to be completely irrelevant to the job market of 2014-2015 so it's not something we will need to think about in 2040 we need to think today what to teach the young people yeah no absolutely I mean if you've often written about moments in history where humankind has has entered a new era unintentionally like decisions have been made technology isn't developed and suddenly the world has changed and it may possibly in a way that's worse for everyone so one of the examples you given say pians is just the whole even the whole agricultural revolution which for an actual person tilling the fields they just picked up a 12-hour back-breaking work day instead of tena you know six hours in the jungle and a much more interesting lifestyle so we had another possible phase change here where we kind of sleepwalk into a future that none of us actually wants yes very much so during the Agricultural Revolution what happened is that an immense technological and economic revolution empowered the human collective but when you look at actual individual lives the life of a tiny elite became much better and the life of the majority of people became considerably worse and this can happen again in the 21st century no doubt the new technologies will empower the human collective but we may end up again with a tiny elite reaping all the benefits taking all the fruits and the masses of the population finding themselves in or worse than they were before certainly much worse than this tiny elite and those elites might not even be human elites they might be they could be enhanced superhumans they could be cyborgs they could be completely non-organic elites they could even be non conscious algorithms what we see now in the world is authority shifting away from Yip man's to algorithms more and more decisions about personal lives about economic matters about political matters is actually being taken by algorithms if you ask the bank for a loan chances are your fate is decided by an algorithm not by a human being and the general impression is that maybe Homo sapiens just lost it the world is so complicated that with so much data things are changing so fast that this thing that evolved on the African savanna tens of thousands of years ago to cope with a particular environment a particular volume of information a data it just can't handle the realities of the 21st century and the only thing that may be able to handle it is Big Data algorithms so no no wonder that more and more authority is shifting from us to the algorithms so we're in New York City for the first of a series of TED dialogues with Yvonne Harare and there's a facebook live audience out they were excited to have you with us we're gonna start coming to some of your questions and questions or people in the room in in just a few minutes so have those those coming even if you've got to make the argument that we need to get past nationalism because of the coming technological danger in a way that presented by so much of what's happening so we've got to have a global conversation about companies it's really hard to get people really believing that I don't know AI really is an imminent threat and so forth that the things that people some people at least you know care about much more much more immediately perhaps is you know climate change and perhaps other issues like refugees nuclear weapons and some and so forth how would you argue that in in where we are right now that somehow those issues need to be dialed up but I mean so you've talked a lot about climate change but I mean Trump has said he doesn't believe in that so we can't you in a way your most powerful argument you can't actually use to make this case yeah I think with climate change at first sight it's quite surprising that there is a very close correlation between nationalism and climate change I mean almost always the people who deny climate change are nationalists and at first society you think why what's the connection why don't you have socialists denying climate change but then when you think about it it's obvious because nationalism has no solution to climate change if you want to be a nationalist in the 21st century you have to deny the problem if you accept the reality of the problem then you must accept that yes there is still room in the world for patriotism that we still room in the world for having special loyalties and obligations towards your own people towards your own country I don't think anybody's really thinking of abolishing that but in order to confront climate change we need additional lawyer and commitments to a level beyond the nation and it should not be impossible because people can have several layers of loyalty you can be loyal to your family and to your community and to your nation so why can't you be also loyal to humankind as a whole of course there are occasions when it becomes difficult what to put first and then but you know life is difficult to handle it ok so I would love to get some questions from the audience here we've got a microphone here speak into it and Facebook get them coming too so one of the things that has clearly made a huge difference in this country in other countries is the interim distribution inequality the dramatic change in income distribution in the u.s. from what it was 50 years ago and and around the world is there any thing that we can do to affect that because that that's gets with a lot of the underlying causes um so far I haven't heard a very good idea about what to do about it again apparently because most ideas remain on the national level and the problem is global I mean one dear that we hear quite a lot about now is universal basic income but this is a problem I mean I think it's a good start but it's a problematic idea because it's not clear what Universal is and it's not clear what basic is most people when they speak about universal basic income they actually mean national basic income but the problem is global let's say that you have AI and the 3d printers taking away millions of jobs in Bangladesh of all the people who make my shirts and my shoes so what's going to happen the US government will leave I taxes on Google and an apple in California and use that to pay basic income to unemployed Bangladeshis if you believe that you can just as well believe that Santa Claus will come and solve the problem so unless we have really universal and not national basic income the deep problem is I'm not going to go away and also it's not clear what basic is because what is what our basic human needs a thousand years ago just food and shelter is enough but today people will say education is a basic human need it should be part of the package but how much 60 years 12 years PhD similarly with healthcare let's say that in 20 30 40 years you'll have expensive treatments that can extend human life to a hundred and twenty I don't know would this be part of the basket of basic income or not it's a very difficult problem because in a world when people lose their ability to employ to be employed the only thing they are going to get is this basic income so what's part of it is a very very difficult ethical question and there's a bunch of questions on how the world affords it as well who who pays the numbers or hears there's a question from Facebook from Lisa Larsen how does nationalism in the u.s. now compared to that between World War one and World War two in the last century ah the good news when a match met with regard to the dangers of nationalism we are in a much better position than a century ago a century ago 1917 Europeans were killing each other by the millions in 2016 which breaks it as far as I remember a single person lost her life an MP who was murdered by some extremists just a single person I mean if breaks it was about British independence this is the most peaceful warf independence in human history and if let's say that Scotland will now choose to leave the UK after brexit so in the 18th century if Scotland wanted and the Scots wanted several times to litter to break out of the control of London the reaction of the government in London was to send an army up north to burn down edinburgh and massacre of the highland tribes my guess that if in 2018 the Scots vote for independence the London government will not send an army up north Edinburgh very few people are now willing to key or be killed for Scottish or for British independence so for all the talk of the rise of nationalism and going back in 1930s or to the 19th century in the West at least the power of national sentiments today is far far smaller than it was a century or so some some people now you hear you know publicly worrying about whether that might be shifting and you know like you know that could actually be outbreaks of violence in the u.s. depending on how things turn out it should should we be worried about that what do you really think things we should be worried I mean I think we should be worth two things first of all don't be hysterical it's we are not back in the First World War yet but on the other hand don't be complacent there is no reached from 1917 to 2017 not by some divine miracle but simply by human decisions and if we now start making the wrong decisions we could be back in an analogous situation to 1917 in a few years one of the things I know as a historian is that you should never underestimate human stupidity it's one of the most powerful forces in history is human stupidity and human violence humans do such crazy things for no obvious reason but again at the same time another very powerful force in history is human human wisdom we have both so we have with us yet moral psychologist Jonathan hight I think has a question okay well thanks you Val so you seem to be a fan of global governance but when you look at the map of the world from transparency international which rates the level of corruption of political institutions it's a vast sea of red with little bits of yellow here and there for the those with good institutions and so if we were to have some kind of global governance what makes you think that it would end up being more like Denmark rather than more like Russia or Honduras and aren't there alternatives such as we did with cloris CFCs I mean there are ways to solve global problems with national governments what would net world government actually look like and why do you think it would work well I don't know how it would look like it's nobody still has a model for that the main the main reason we need it is because many of these issues are lose-lose situations I mean when you have a win-win situation like trade both sides can benefit from a trade agreement then this is something you can work out without some kind of global government national governments each has an interest in doing it but when you have a lose-lose situation like with climate change it's much more difficult without some overarching Authority real Authority now how to get there and how would it look like I don't know and certainly there is no obvious reason to think that it would look like Denmark or that it would be a democracy most likely it wouldn't we don't have workable democratic models for a global government so maybe it would look more like ancient China than like modern Denmark but still given the dangers that we are facing I think the imperative of having some kind of real ability to force through difficult decisions on the global level is more important than almost anything else mmm the question from Facebook here and then we'll get the mic to Andrew it's a cat Hebert on on Facebook calling in from Vale how old developed nations manage the millions of climate migrants I don't know and I don't you answer cat and I don't think that they know either I mean they'll just deny the problem maybe but immigration generators is another example of a sort of problem that's very hard to solve on a nation by nation basis one nation can shut its doors but maybe that stores out problems for the future yes I mean it's another of very good case especially because it's so much easier to migrate today than it was in the Middle Ages or ancient times if all there's a there's a belief among many technologists certainly that political concerns are kind of overblown that actually political leaders don't have that much influence in the world that the real determination of humanity at this point is by science by invention by companies by by by the you know by many things other than political leaders and it's actually very hard for leaders to do much so we're actually worrying about nothing here well first it should be emphasized that it's true that political leader is ability to do good is very limited but their ability to do harm is unlimited there is a basic imbalance here you can still press the button and blow everybody up you have that kind of ability but if you want for example to reduce inequality that's very very difficult but to start a war you can still do so very easily so there is an a built-in imbalance in the political system today which is very frustrating that you cannot do a lot of good but you can still do a lot of harm and this makes the political system still a very big concern so as you look at what's happening today and putting your historians hat on do you look back in history at moments when things were going just fine and an individual leader really took the world or their country backwards quite a few examples but but I should emphasize it's never an individual leader I mean somebody put him there and somebody allowed him to continue to be there so it's never really just the fault of a single individual there is a lot of people behind every such individual hmm – can we have the microphone here please – Andrew you've talked a lot about the global versus the national but increasingly it seems to me that the world situation is in the hands of identity groups we look at people within the United States who have been recruited by Isis we look at these other groups which have formed which go outside of national bounds but still represent significant authorities how are they to be integrated into the system and how is the diverse set of identities to be made coherent under either national or global leadership but the problem of such diverse identities is a problem from nationalism as well nationalism believes in a single monolithic identity and in an exclusive or at least more extreme versions of nationalism believe in an exclusive loyalty to a single identity and therefore nationalism has had a lot of problems with people wanting to divide their identities between various groups so there isn't it's not just a problem safer from a global vision and I think that again history shows that you shouldn't necessarily think in such exclusive terms if you think that there is just a single identity for a person I'm just X that's it I can't be several things I can be just that that's the start of the problem you you have religions you have nations that sometimes demand exclusive loyalty but it's not the only option there are many religions and many nations that enable you to have diverse identities at the same time but it is one explanation of what's happened in the last year that that a group of people have got fed up with if you like that the liberal elites for want of a better term obsessing over many many many different identities and then feeling but what about my identity my I am being completely ignored here and by the way I think I'm I thought I was the majority and and that that's actually sparked a lot of the anger yes the identity is always problematic because identity is always based on fictional stories that sooner or later collide with reality almost all identities I mean beyond the level of the basic community of a few dozen people are based on a fictional story they are not the truth they are not a reality it's just a story that people invent and tell one another and start believing and therefore all identities are extremely unstable they are not a biological reality I mean sometimes nationalists for example think that the nation is a biological entity it's made of the combination of soil and blood creates the nation but this is just a fictional story soil and blood kind of makes a gooey mess also if messes with your mind when you think too much that I am a combination of soil and blood if you look for a biological perspective obviously none of the nation's that exists today existed five thousand years ago Homo sapiens is a social animal that's for sure but for millions of years Homo sapiens in our hominid ancestors lived in small communities of a few dozen individuals everybody knew everybody else whereas in in modern nations our imagined communities in the sense that I don't even know all these people I mean I come from a relatively small nation Israel and our eight million Israelis I never met most of them I will never meet most of them they basically exist here hmm but in terms of this identity this group who feel left out and you know perhaps work taken away I mean in holidays you you actually speak of this group in in one sense expanding that so many people may have their jobs taken away by technology in some way that we we could end up with a really large I think you call it a useless class yeah we're a class that were traditionally as viewed by the economy these people have no use how how likely a possibility is that isn't that something it's like we should be terrified about and can we address it in any way we should think about it very carefully I mean nobody really knows what the job market would look like in 20 40 2015 there is a chance many new jobs will appear but it's not certain and even if new jobs do appear it won't necessarily be easy for a 50 year old unemployed truck driver I'm a made unemployed by self-driving vehicles it won't be easy for a unemployed truck driver to reinvent himself or herself as a designer of virtual worlds I mean previously if you look at the trajectory of the Industrial Revolution when machines replaced humans in one type of work the solution usually came from low skill work in new new lines of business so you didn't need any more agricultural workers so people moved to working in low skill industrial jobs and when this was taken away by more and more machines people moved to low-skilled service jobs now when people say there will be new jobs in the future that humans can do better than a AI that humans can do but other robots they usually think about high-skilled jobs like software engineers designing virtual worlds now I don't see how an unemployed cashier from Walmart reinvents herself or himself at 50 as a designer of virtual worlds and certainly I don't see how the millions of unemployed Bangladeshi textile workers I will be able to do that I mean if they are going to do it we need to start teaching the Bangladeshis today how to be software designers and we are not doing it so what will they doing 20 years so feels like you're you're really highlighting a question that's really been bugging me or was the last few months more and more it's it's a it's almost a hard question to ask in public but if any mind has some wisdom to offer in it maybe it's your so I'm going to ask you what are humans for as far as we know for nothing I mean there is there is no great cosmic drama some great cosmic plane that we have a role to play in it and we just need to discover what our role is and then play to the best of our ability this has been the story of all religions and ideologies and so forth but as a scientist the best I can say this is not true there is no universal drama with a role in it for Homo sapiens so we my gonna I'm gonna push back on you just on your own book because in in Hamid s you give really one of the most coherent and understandable accounts about sentience about consciousness and that unique sort of human skill you point out that it's different from intelligence intelligence that we're building in machines and and that there's actually a lot of mystery around it how can you be sure there's no purpose when we don't have we don't even understand what this sentence thing is I mean isn't it anyone thinking isn't there a chance that what humans are for are to be the universe's sentient things you know to be the centers of joy and love and happiness and hope and maybe we can build machines that actually help help amplify that even if they're not going to become sentient themselves is that crazy I thought I I kind of got from myself hoping that reading oh well I certainly think that the most interesting question today in science is the question of consciousness and the mind we are getting better and better in understanding the brain and intelligence but we are not getting much better in understanding the mind and consciousness people often confuse intelligence and consciousness especially in places like Silicon Valley which is understandable because in humans they go together I mean intelligence basically is the ability to solve problems consciousness is the ability to feel things to feel joy and sadness and and boredom and in pain and so forth in Homo sapiens in all other mammals as well it's not unique to humans in all mammals and birds and some other animals intelligence and consciousness go together we often solve problems by feeling things so we tend to confuse them but there are different things what's happening today in places like Silicon Valley is that we are creating artificial intelligence but not artificial consciousness there has been an amazing development in computer intelligence over the last 50 years and exactly zero development in computer consciousness and there is no indication that computers are going to become conscious anytime soon so first of all if there is some cosmic role for consciousness it's not unique to Homo sapiens cows are conscious pigs are conscious chimpanzees are conscious chickens are conscious if we go that way first of all we need to broaden our horizons and remember very clearly we are not the only sentient beings on earth and when it comes to sentience I mean when it comes to intelligence there is good reason to think we are the most intelligence of the whole of the whole bunch but when it comes to sentience to say that humans are most sentient in whales or more sentient than baboons or more sentient and cats I see no evidence for that so first step is you go in the direction expand and then the second question of what is it for I would reverse it and I would say that I don't think sentience is for anything I think we don't need to find our role in the universe the really important thing is to liberate ourselves from suffering what characterizes sentient beings in contrast to robots to stones to whatever is that sentient beings suffer or can suffer and what they should focus on is not finding their place in some mysterious cosmic drama they should focus on understanding what suffering is what causes it it how to be liberated from it I know this is a big issue for you and I very eloquent we're gonna have a blizzard of questions from from the audience here and maybe from facebook as well maybe some comments as well all right so let's go quick there's one one right here put your hands at keep hands held up at the back if you want the mic and we'll get about you so in your work you talked a lot about the fictional stories that we accept is truth and we leave our lives by it as an individual knowing that how does it impact the stories that you choose to live your life and do you confuse them with the truth like all of us I try not to I mean for me maybe the most important question both as a scientist and as a person is how to tell the difference between fiction and reality because reality is there is there I'm not saying that everything is fiction it's just very difficult for human beings to tell the difference between fiction and reality and it have become more and more difficult as history progressed because the fictions that we have created Nations and guards and money and corporations they now control the world so just to even think that oh this is just all fictional entities that we've created it's very difficult but reality is there for me the best than several tests on to tell the difference between fiction and reality the simplest one the best one that I can say in short is the test of suffering if it can suffer it's real it can't suffer it's not real a nation cannot suffer that's very very clear even if a nation loses a war we say Germany suffered the defeat in the First World War it's a metaphor Germany cannot suffer Germany has no mind Germany has no consciousness Germans can suffer yes but Germany cannot similarly when a bank goes bust so the bank cannot suffer when the dollar loses its value the dollar doesn't suffer people can suffer animals can suffer this is real so I would start if you really want to see reality I would go through the door of suffering if you can really understand what suffering is this will give you also the key to understand what reality is there's a facebook question here that connects to this and it's from someone around the world in a language that I cannot read but it's Hebrew there you go can you be the name-o Lauterbach goin well thank you for watchin the question is is is the post truth era a really a brand new era or just another climax or moment in a never-ending trend personally I I don't connect to this idea of post truth my basic reaction as historian if this is the era of post truth when the hell is the air of truth right what is in the 1980s the 1950s the Middle Ages I mean we always lived in an era in a way of post truth but but I'd push back on that because I mean I think what people are talking about is that there was a world when you had fewer journalistic outlets where there were traditions that things were fact-check there was you know it was sort of incorporated into the Charter of those organizations that the truth mattered so if you believe in a reality then what you write is information there was a belief that that information should connect to reality in a real way and that if you wrote a headline it was a serious and earnest attempt to reflect something that it actually happened and people didn't always get it right but I think the concern now is that you've got you've got a technological system it's incredibly powerful that for a while at least massively amplified anything with no attention paid to whether it connected to reality only to whether it connected to clicks and an attention and that that was arguably toxic but that's a reasonable concern is now yeah it is I means that the community changes and it's now easier to disseminate both truth and fiction and falsehood it goes both ways also much easier though to spread the truth than it was ever before but I don't think there is anything essentially new about this disseminating fictions and errors I mean there is nothing that I don't know Gable's Joseph Geddes didn't know about all this idea of fake news and in post truth he famously say that if you repeat a lie often enough people will think it's the truth and the bigger the lie the better because people won't even think that how it starts something so big can be can be a line and I think that fake news have been with us for thousands of years and just think of the Bible but there's but but there is that there is a concern that the fake news is associated with tyrannical regimes and that when you when you see an uprise in fake news that is that is a canary in the coal mine that there may be dark times coming yeah I mean the intentional use of fake news is is a disturbing sign but I'm just I'm not saying that it's not bad I'm just saying that it's not new yeah so there's a lot of interest in Facebook on this question about you know global governance versus nationalism question from Phil Dennis how do we get people governments to relinquish power is that is that especially the text is there so big I couldn't read the full question but it is that is that a necessity is it gonna take war to get their own water until I mangled your question but I blend the text right here one option that some people talk about is that only a catastrophic an shake humankind and open the path to a real system of global governance and they say that we can't do it before the catastrophe but we need to start laying the foundations so that when the disaster strike we can react quickly but people will just not have the motivation to do such a thing before the disaster strikes another thing that I would emphasize is that anybody who is really interested in global governance should always make it very very clear that it doesn't replace or abolish local identities and communities that it should come both at the same it should be part of a single package no this is really I want to hear more on this because the very words global governance are kind of are almost the epitome of evil in India in the mindset of a lot of people on the alt-right right now you know it just seems scary remote distant and it has let them down and so global globalist global governance know go away and and many view the election is the ultimate sort of poking the eye to anyone who believes in that so so how how do we change the narrative so that it doesn't seem so scary and remote bit build more on this idea of it being compatible with with local identity local communities well I think what you should again we should start really with the biological realities of Homo sapiens and biology tells us two things about Homo sapiens which are very relevant to this issue first of all that we are completely dependent on the ecological system around us and that today we are talking about a global system you cannot escape that and at the same time biology tells us about homo sapiens that we are social animals but that we are social in a very very local level it's just a simple fact of humanity that we cannot have intimate familiarity with more than about a hundred fifty individuals then the signs of the natural group the natural community of Homo sapiens is not more than a hundred fifty individuals and everything beyond that is really based on all kinds of imaginary stories and large-scale institutions and I think that we can find a way again based on a biological understanding of our species to weave the two together and to understand that today in the 21st century we need both the global level and the local community and I would go even further than that and say that it starts with with the body itself the feelings that people today have of alienation and loneliness and not finding their place in the world III would think that the chief problem is not global capitalism the chief problem is that over the last hundred years people have been becoming disembodied have been distancing themselves from their body as a hunter-gatherer or even as a peasant to survive you need to be constantly in touch with your body and with your senses every moment if you go to the forest to look for mushrooms and you don't pay attention to what you hear to what you smell to what you taste you're dead so you must be very connected in the last hundred years people are losing their ability to be in touch with regarded and their senses to hear to smell to film more and more attention goes to screens to what is happening elsewhere some other time this I think is the deep reason for the feelings of alienation and loneliness and so forth and therefore part of the solution is not to bring back some mass nationalism but also to reconnect with our own bodies and if you're back in touch with your body you'll feel much more at home in the world also or depending on how things go we may all be back in the forest soon and one more on Facebook hello I'm from Ghana West Africa and my question is I'm wondering how do you present and justify the idea of global governance to countries that have been historically disenfranchised by the effects of globalization and also if we're talking about global governance that it also sounds to me like it will definitely come from a very westernized idea of what's the global is supposed to look like so how do we present and justify that idea of global vs. holistically like holy nationalists to people in countries like Ghana and Nigeria and Togo in you know other countries like that thank you um I would start by saying that history is extremely unfair and that we should we should realize that many of the countries that suffered most from the last 200 years of globalization and imperialism and industrialization are exactly the countries which will are also most likely to suffer most from the next wave and we should be very very clear about that if we don't have a global governance and if we suffer from climate change from technological disruptions the worst suffering will not be in the US the worst suffering will be in Ghana will be in Sudan will be in Syria we'll be in Bangladesh we'll be in those places so I think those countries have an even greater incentive to do something about the next wave of disruption whether it's a collage achill or whether its technological again if you think about technological disruption so if AI and 3d printers and robots will take the jobs from billions of people I worry found less about the Swedes than about the people in Ghana or in Bangladesh and and therefore because history is so unfair and then the results of a calamity will not be shared equally between everybody as usual the rich will be able to get away from the worst consequences of climate change in a way that the poor will not be able to and here's a great question from Cameron Taylor on Facebook at the end of sapiens you said we should be asking the question what do we want to want well what do you think we should want want I think we should want to want to know the truth to understand reality mostly what we want is to change reality to fit it to our own desires to our own wishes and I think we should first want to understand it if you look at the long-term trajectory of history what you see is that for thousands of years we humans have been gaining control of the world outside us and trying to shape it to fit our own desires and we've you know we've gun control of the other animals of the rivers of the forests and then reshape them completely causing an ecological disruption destruction without making ourselves satisfied so the next step is we turn our gaze inwards and we say okay gaining control of the world outside us did not really make a satisfied let's now try to gain control of the world inside us this is the big really big project of science and technology and Industry in the 21st century will be to try and gain control of the world inside us to learn how to engineer and produce bodies and brains and minds these are likely to be in the main products of the 21st century economy when people think about the future very often they think in terms oh I want to gain control of my body and of my brain and I think that's very dangerous if we've learned anything from the form a previous history is that yes we gained the power to manipulate but because we didn't really understand the complexity of the ecological system we are now facing an ecological meltdown and if we now try to re-engineer the world inside us without really understanding it especially without understanding the complexity of our mental system we might cause the kind of internal ecological disaster and we'll face a kind of mental meltdown inside us putting all the pieces together here the current politics coming technology concerns like the one you've just outlined and it seems like you yourself are in quite a bleak place when you when you think about the future you're you're pretty worried about it is that is that right and if there was one cause for hope how would you how would you state that III focus on the Monday on the more dangerous possibilities partly because this is like my job or responsibility as a story in a social critic I mean that the industry focuses mainly on the positive sides so it's the job of historians and philosophers and sociologists to highlight the more dangerous potential of all these new technologies I don't think any of that is inevitable technology is never deterministic you can use the same technology to create very different kinds of societies if you look at the 20th century so the technologies of the Industrial Revolution the trains and electricity and all that could be used to create a communist dictatorship or a fascist regime or a liberal democracy the trains did not tell you what do with them similarly no artificial intelligence and bioengineering and all that they don't predetermine a single outcome humanity can rise up to the challenge and the best example we have of humanity rising up to the challenge of the new technology is nuclear weapons in the 19 late 40s 50s people many people were convinced that sooner or later the Cold War will end in a nuclear catastrophe destroying human civilization and this did not happen in fact nuclear weapons prompted humans all over the world to change the way that they managed international politics to reduce violence that many countries basically took out war from their political toolkit they no longer try to pursue their interests with warfare not all countries have done so but many countries have and this is maybe the most important reason while international violence have declined dramatically since 1945 and today as I said more people commit suicide than are killed in war so this I think gives us a good example that even the most frightening technology humans can rise up to the challenge and actually it's some good can come out of it the problem is we have very little mouse genes for error if we don't get it right we might not have a second option to try again that's a very powerful note on which I think we should draw this to inclusion before I wrap up I just want to say one thing to people here and to the global Ted community watching online anyone watching online help us with these dialogues like if you believe like we do that we need to find a different kind of conversation now more than ever help us do it you know reach out to other people try and have conversations with people you disagree with understand them pull the pieces together and help us figure out how to take these conversations forward so that we can make a real contribution to what's happening in the world right now I think everyone feels more alive more concerned more engaged with the politics of the moment the stakes do seem quite high so help us respond to it in a wise wise way give our re thank you you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *