Making Sense of War: Strategy for the 21st Century

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This effectively brings the communist plan to fruition, albeit not by revolution.

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Harari warns of the threat of further geographic consolidation of wealth though. This could pave the way for an even greater wealth gap and the collapse of developing countries. If you believe the typical American voter will support that, says Harari, you might just as well believe that Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny will solve the problem. Human happiness depends less on objective conditions and more on our own expectations.

Our expectations adapt to changing conditions including to the condition of other people keeping up with the Joneses.

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When things improve, expectations balloon and consequently even dramatic improvements in conditions might leave us as a dissatisfied as before. People need not only the basics, but they need to feel like they have enough, that their contributions are worthwhile, that they are learning and growing and that they have access to a community.

Rightly or wrongly people might reach the same conclusions about big data to algorithms that may come to run the world. They might have lots of bugs but we have no better alternative. Recently on an episode of the Sam Harris podcast, Harris and psychologist Jordan Peterson debated for what seemed ad infinitum, the definition of truth. Harari puts it simply; truth today is defined by the top results of the Google search.

On big data algorithms, once we begin to count on AI to decide what to study, where to work, and who to marry, democratic elections and free markets will make little sense. On 16 March , a company of American soldiers went berserk in the South Vietnamese village of My Lai and massacred about civilians. This war crime was initiated by American forces that had been involved in jungle guerrilla warfare for several months.

It was a fault of human emotions. If the US had the killer robots in Vietnam, the massacre would never have occurred.

War and Strategy in the 21st Century - Foreign Policy Research Institute

However, if the US had killer robots the war could have dragged on for many more years because the American government would have had fewer worries about the moral of soldiers or massive anti-war demonstrations. These benefits extend to the realm of warfare.

The data is analysed with the aid of algorithms which helps Israeli security forces pinpoint and utilise potential threats. It is therefore surprisingly easy for few Israeli soldiers to control about two and a half million Palestinians. Harari says that unlike land and machines data is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, it can move at the speed of light and you can create as many copies of it as you want. So we had better call upon our lawyers, politicians, philosophers and even poets to turn their attention to this conundrum.

Making Sense of War: Strategy for the 21st Century

This also echoes what many commentators are saying when analysing the forward march of big tech companies who, more often than not, are spearheaded by people who lack the fundamentals when it comes to the broader economic, political, social or philosophical implications of their work. We need to solve complex problems by taking a multi-disciplinary approach. On tech addiction and how it is compromising genuine human connection and community, Harari makes the point that it is easier than ever to talk to his cousin in Switzerland but it is harder to talk to his husband over breakfast because he constantly looks at his smartphone instead of at him.

With each passing millennium, these tribes fused to larger and larger groups creating fewer and fewer distinct civilizations. In recent generations, the few remaining civilizations have been blending into a single global civilization. People care far more about their enemies than about the trade partners, says Harari.

For every American film about Taiwan there are probably about 50 about Vietnam. The people we fight most often are our family members.


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There is nothing wrong with benign patriotism. The problem, Harari warns, starts when benign patriotism morphs into chauvinistic ultra-nationalism. Instead of believing that my nation is unique , which is true all nations, I might begin feeling that my nation is supreme. Unless we dramatically cut the emission of greenhouse gases in the next 20 years, average global temperatures will increase by more than two degrees celsius resulting in expanding deserts, disappearing ice caps, rising oceans and more extreme weather events such as hurricanes and typhoons. You rarely see left-wing socialists tweet that climate change is a Chinese hoax.

When there is no rational answer, but only a global answer to the problem of global warming, some nationalist politicians prefer to believe the problem does not exist.

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To counter this, the advent of unconventional technologies might help. For example, clean meat. We now have a global ecology, a global economy and global science but we are still stuck with only national politics. This mismatch prevents the political system from effectively countering main problems. To have effective politics we must either be globalising economics and the major science or we must globalise politics. Global governance, Harari says, is unrealistic. Rather, to globalise politics means that political dynamics within countries give far more weight to global problems and interests.

Harari says that in order to understand the role of traditional religions in the world of the 21st Century, we need to distinguish between three types of problems:.

The Century of the Self (Full Documentary)

Freud ridiculed the obsession people have about such matters as a narcissism of small differences. On this point, I did some research to find out why the Eastern Orthodox and Western Christian religions branched off from each other. That was it.

Book Summary: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Perhaps Freud had a point. To clarify matters, Harari defines immigration as a deal with three basic conditions or terms. They become us. Precisely because you cherish tolerance, says Harari, you can not allow too many intolerant people in. While the tolerant society can manage more liberal minorities, if the number of such extremes exceeds a certain threshold, the whole nature of society changes. If you are bringing in too many immigrants from the Middle East, you will eventually end up looking like the Middle East says Harari. On culturists: People continue to conduct a heroic struggle against traditional racism without noticing that the battlefront has shifted from traditional racism to culturists.

On terrorists: They kill very few people but nevertheless managed to terrify billions and shake huge political structures such as the European Union or the United States to their core. Since September 11, every year terrorists have killed about 50 people in the EU, about 10 people in the USA, about seven people in China and 25, people globally, mostly in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. Diabetes and high sugar levels kill up to 3. Terrorism is like the fly that tries to destroy a china shop.

The fly is so weak that it cannot move even a single teacup. How does a fly destroy china shop, asks Harari? The ball goes wild with fear and anger and destroys the china shop. Now they flourish in the wreckage. And Harari reminds us that there is no shortage of a short-tempered bulls in the world. The overreaction to terrorism poses a far greater threat to our security than terrorist themselves. Harari says that a successful counter terrorism struggle should be conducted on three fronts. As it stands, the media obsessively report terror attacks because reports on terrorism sell newspapers much better than reports of diabetes or pollution.

Terrorist hold our imagination captive and use it against us. It is the responsibility of every citizen to liberate his or her imagination from the terrorists and to remind ourselves of the true dimensions of this threat. Today information technology and biotechnology are more important than heavy industry when it comes to war.

Today the main economic assets consist of technical and institutional knowledge rather than wheat fields, goldmines or even oil fields and you just cannot conquer knowledge through war. Even apes developed the tendency to help the poor, the needy and fatherless millions of years before the Bible instructed ancient Israelites to do the same.

It means reducing suffering. You just need to develop a deep appreciation of suffering. In the long run, immoral behaviour is counterproductive.