Various enterprises and personal interests, such as Man-Machine Interaction (MMI), gesture studies, signs, language, social robotics, healthcare, innovation, music, publications, etc.

Author: Jeroen Page 1 of 51

Thoughts on Homo Deus

Today I prompted ChatGPT as follows:

Pretend you are (1) a law maker, (2) a philosopher, (3) an AI engineer and (4) a book reviewer. Please provide your opinion on the book Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Hariri in the form and style of a book review for your peers in a peer reviewed journal.

It generated:

1) As a Lawmaker

Title: “From the Legislative Lens: A Review of Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Hariri”

In “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow,” Yuval Noah Hariri paints a future in which human beings ascend to godhood, aided by our technological prowess. His book is filled with thought-provoking ideas that challenge us lawmakers to reconsider our fundamental perspectives on human rights, data privacy, and the balance of power.

Hariri’s proposition of Dataism as the potential future religion is an exciting yet disconcerting idea, shedding light on the political complexities and ethical dilemmas that are starting to arise in our data-driven society. The concept prompts us to reflect on how we must adapt legislation to handle unprecedented issues, like data ownership, that may arise from such a transition.

His exploration of technology-driven social stratification is also crucial to our work. Hariri’s warning of a ‘useless class,’ or those unable to keep pace with rapid technological advancement, raises serious concerns about how we can promote social equity and justice.

Overall, “Homo Deus” is a must-read for lawmakers navigating the unprecedented legal and ethical challenges of an increasingly data-driven world.

2) As a Philosopher

Title: “Humanity’s New Gods: A Philosophical Critique of Homo Deus”

In “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow,” Yuval Noah Hariri explores the implications of a post-human era. His work is dense with profound and intellectually challenging ideas, questioning humanity’s place in a future world defined by our own creations.

His hypotheses about the ‘human gods’ resonate with Nietzsche’s idea of the Ubermensch, yet with a technological twist. Hariri’s notions of Dataism extend beyond the scope of science into the realm of metaphysics, urging us to question the nature of consciousness, free will, and personal identity in a data-driven world.

However, Hariri’s assumptions about the human quest for immortality, happiness, and divinity could have been analyzed further through different philosophical perspectives, such as existentialism or Buddhist philosophy, which embrace mortality, suffering, and impermanence.

“Homo Deus” serves as an urgent call to philosophers to engage with the philosophical implications of rapid technological and scientific advances, to ensure humanity’s wisdom evolves alongside its knowledge.

3) As an AI Engineer

Title: “Molding Our Tomorrow: An AI Engineer’s Examination of Homo Deus”

Yuval Noah Harari’s “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” offers a captivating yet alarming vision of a future where humans are no longer the most intelligent entities. As an AI engineer, I find Hariri’s assumptions regarding the potential of artificial intelligence both exciting and contentious.

His prediction of human obsolescence due to advancements in AI and biotechnology is unsettling, yet valid. It underscores the importance of developing ethical AI systems that augment rather than replace human abilities, and ensuring that AI benefits are accessible to all.

Hariri’s Dataism hypothesis aligns well with the increasing influence of big data and AI in our society. However, it also underscores the importance of privacy, transparency, and explainability in AI systems, all critical factors for establishing public trust in our work.

While “Homo Deus” does not delve deep into the intricacies of AI development, it provides a valuable outsider’s perspective that reminds us, AI engineers, of the larger social and ethical implications of our work.

4) As a Book Reviewer

Title: “Foreseeing the Future: A Review of Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Hariri”

Yuval Noah Hariri’s “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” masterfully intertwines history, science, and philosophy to offer a speculative look at the future of humanity. Hariri’s writing style is engaging, accessible, and sprinkled with humor, which makes for a pleasant read despite the book’s weighty subject matter.

Hariri’s exploration of our potential future – particularly the rise of Dataism and the advent of ‘godlike’ humans – is a narrative full of twists and thought-provoking insights. The idea of a ‘useless class’ emerging due to technological advancements is particularly jarring and underlines the urgency for societal adaptations.

While Hariri’s predictions can at times feel overly deterministic, they undeniably provide valuable fodder for discussion and contemplation. His visionary insights demand our attention, urging us to critically assess the direction in which our society is heading.

In “Homo Deus,” Hariri invites us not only to foresee the future but to actively participate in shaping it, making the book an indispensable read for anyone interested in the human saga and our role in its unfolding.

Follow-Up Questions and Answers

I went further, see here, and once again I was amazed at how valuable ChatGPT is for me when I am trying to understand something. I can talk to it, ask questions, let it generate ideas and concepts based on suggestions, and all the while it never once needs a new drink.

A return to philosophy

The things YouTube is good for. It has inspired me to return to philosophy. I recently found a wonderful collection of lectures and interviews online on YouTube. One is the channel called Philosophy Overdose. It features interviews by Bryan Magee with leading scholars that are great introductions into various subjects. There are also nice lectures by Thelma Z. Lavine. It is older material, from the seventies and eighties but still great.

It makes me wonder if the generations growing up now will still get familiar with all of these thoughts. Is anyone still reading the great works? I hope that through these films on YouTube more interest will grow.

Here is an example of a discussion about Wittgenstein. I find his ideas about language very convincing, and I base my own thinking about language on them (or at least how I understand it).

Interestingly, this led me to an interview with Noam Chomsky, a great language scientist (although I think I am unconvinced about some of his ideas, or maybe I just don’t understand them) who basically says that Wittgensteins ideas were not that important for his own development and rather points to some contemporaries of Wittgenstein with similar but more precise ideas.

Is that not an amazing aspect of these times? We have access to the thinking of so many great minds. And YouTube is the main channel that offers it to us. I should get a paid account.

Update: I found another gem: an interview by Bryan Magee with Noam Chomsky, see below. In here he makes perfect sense. The 45 years since the interview in 1978 have proven Chomsky right on many things. Still, I wonder if anyone is actually still taking time to go back to the original works of Chomsky. And for those interested in games, there is a wonderful bit on them from around 32 minutes.

Design is a profession

General recommendation: If you want to design something interactive well, hire professional designers and let them run a co-design, participatory design or, even better, a full user centered design process. It is complex stuff that has good value but only if it is done well.

ChatGPT addition:

Can you write a blog post of about 400 words about interaction design as a profession and include thoughts on user centered design? Specifically, I want to stress that well-intentioned amateurs, such as general managers or policy makers should avoid taking on the role of designers themselves.

Certainly! Here’s a blog post about interaction design as a profession, with an emphasis on user-centered design and the risks of well-intentioned amateurs taking on the role of designers.

Interaction Design as a Profession: Putting Users First

Interaction design is a field that focuses on creating digital experiences that are intuitive, efficient, and enjoyable for users. It is an important aspect of modern technology, from websites to mobile apps to smart home devices. In this blog post, we’ll explore what interaction design as a profession entails, the importance of user-centered design, and why well-intentioned amateurs should avoid taking on the role of designers.

Interaction Design as a Profession

Interaction design is a discipline that combines elements of visual design, user experience, and technology to create digital experiences that are easy and enjoyable for users. It is a rapidly growing field, with many businesses recognizing the importance of good design in creating successful products and services.

Interaction designers work to create digital products that are both visually appealing and easy to use. They focus on creating intuitive user interfaces, designing effective interactions, and creating engaging experiences that keep users coming back. Their work involves understanding the needs of users, designing prototypes, and testing and refining their designs.

User-Centered Design

At the heart of interaction design is the concept of user-centered design. This approach to design places the needs of users at the forefront of the design process, ensuring that the end result is something that is useful and enjoyable for those who will be using it.

User-centered design involves a number of steps, including research, prototyping, testing, and refining. It requires designers to have a deep understanding of the needs, preferences, and behaviors of their target users, as well as the ability to translate that understanding into effective design solutions.

Well-Intentioned Amateurs

While many well-intentioned amateurs, such as general managers or policy makers, may have a basic understanding of design principles, they lack the specialized training and expertise that professional designers possess. Design is a highly specialized field that requires a unique combination of skills, including creativity, technical expertise, and an understanding of human behavior and psychology.

When well-intentioned amateurs take on the role of designers, they run the risk of creating products and services that are ineffective or even harmful to users. They may overlook important design principles or fail to fully understand the needs and preferences of their target audience.


Interaction design is an important profession that plays a key role in creating digital experiences that are intuitive, efficient, and enjoyable for users. User-centered design is an essential aspect of the design process, placing the needs of users at the forefront of the design process. While well-intentioned amateurs may have a basic understanding of design principles, they lack the specialized training and expertise that professional designers possess. It is important to leave the role of designer to those who have the specialized skills and knowledge required to create effective and user-centered design solutions.

If – Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Winter is coming

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow. That would be welcome. A layer of snow to cover and temporarily beautify everything. I don’t have to make snowmen or ride a sled. Just watch. I don’t want to think about the gunk that might follow. Maybe the layer of snow will do away nicely after a day. That would be nice. And then next week once more.

Final Live Performance by Johnny Cash

What a loving and gentle performance by Johnny Cash. His aging voice strikes me, fragile and at that day a bit hoarse, as he confessed to an understanding audience. But does it make the performance worse? Not really, people take it into account I believe and even respectfully do not over-sing or over-scream his voice. To give him room and to let him reach them once more I like to think. Wish I had been there.


U kunt dit bericht beter overslaan. Het is namelijk niet leuk. Tenzij u wat vreugde kunt putten uit andermans geklaag. Gedeelde smart is halve smart.

Schoorvoetend en somber gestemd strompel ik het nieuwe jaar in. Wat zal ons dit jaar voor ellende staan te wachten? De gifbeker moet eerst nog leeg. In januari staan al enkele tragedies op het programma. Ik kijk er naar uit.

Zwelgen in misère is ook een kunst. Je moet er al je zegeningen voor in de ijskast zetten. Familie, vrienden, gezondheid, geld, werk, zingeving. Het past er eigenlijk niet in. Het valt van de schappen en kijkt me lachend aan.

Nou, laten we het maar eens gaan proberen met 2021.

Badwater op Ultimate Guitar

In mijn jeugd schreef ik geregeld liedjes. Eentje kreeg zelfs wat bekendheid: Badwater, zo heet het liedje. Het is een smartlap waar we ooit een festival mee wonnen. Meer daarover, hierzo:

Ik heb de tekst en de muziek nu ook op de website van Ultimate Guitar gezet, wat ik zelf ook veel gebruik tijdens het spelen en oefenen. Hier staat het:

Het filmpje is van een lustrumfeest van Studentenvereniging Koko, te Maastricht, waar het nummer altijd aan het einde van de avond gedraaid werd.

Mother Maybelle’s Carter Scratch – A documentary by some of the members themselves, Helen, Johnny and others.

What a wonderfull story told by first Helen, then Johnny Cash, who married June Carter and became the son-in-law of Mother Maybelle. The marriage may well have saved the man from your typical showman’s disasters involving drugs and sex and rock & roll.

And another nice thing to note is the aging voice of Maybelle. She was never a singer with soaring voice but with age she becomes even more careful not to stretch it too far. She stays within her modes range and plays an important harmony role. And she does take the lead in going through the song, and she is always very sure of when to start and when to end a particular part. That is often seen in those who are also strong guitar players, I believe because they have two perspectives on song, the chord progression and the melody.

See more about the Carter Family.

Aging Voices: Don McLean

I find something wonderful in aging voices. Strength gets lost, volume goes down, range decreases and ease vanishes. Still, there is beauty to be found.

Don McLean sings a great version of Vincent. He also sang together with Ed Sheeran a version of this song.

My parents are both aging singers and I hope one day I will be too 🙂

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