We are pleased to announce bestselling author, historian, and professor Yuval Noah Harari, as a keynote speaker for CloudFest 2022.
Harari has written Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Having sold over 35 million copies in 65 languages, he is considered one of the most influential thinkers on the world stage. Harari writes for publications such as The Guardian, The Financial Times, The New York Times, TIME, and The Economist; and his views were sought out extensively regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“History began when humans invented gods, and will end when humans become gods.”
—Yuval Noah Harari
One of the reasons Harari is so popular is his ability to clarify the complex issues facing an increasingly-globalized human civilization in ways that speak not just to our minds, but to our guts. For example, Harari describes the Industrial Revolution as a “permanent revolution”, with automation, commuting, and broadcast media coming together with an interesting effect: imposing a timetable on nearly every aspect of an individual’s life. As he wrote in Sapiens,
“The typical person consults these clocks several dozen times a day, because almost everything we do has to be done on time. An alarm clock wakes us up at 7 a.m., we heat our frozen bagel for exactly 50 seconds in the microwave, brush our teeth for 3 minutes until the electric toothbrush beeps, catch the 7:40 train to work, run on the treadmill at the gym until the beeper announces that half an hour is over, sit down in front of the TV at 7 p.m. to watch our favorite show, get interrupted at preordained moments by commercials that cost $1,000 per second, and eventually unload all our angst on a therapist who restricts our prattle to the now standard 50-minute therapy hour.”
Harari has adapted Sapiens into a graphic novel series, whose style is as delightful as it is thought-provoking:
Outside his busy writing and teaching schedule, Harari co-founded Sapienship, an organization seeking to clarify key challenges facing global humanity—namely technological disruption, ecological collapse, and global war—and help support workable solutions.
Humanity Meets Technology at CloudFest
That first part, “technological disruption”, is of key interest to the CloudFest community: how do we harness our exponential advancements in data, computation, and machine intelligence for the greater good—and prevent these things from being used to do harm?
The pandemic laid bare the weak points in our structures, systems, and even thought patterns when it comes to how we see ourselves as part of the wider world. What should change, and what do the early stages of those changes even look like? To begin to fathom this question, it might help to look back at the very invention of writing in ancient Mesopotamia. Writing was developed for the least sexy task of all time: tax collecting. Safe to say that we’ve found far more interesting things to do with it, from the writings of Maya Angelou and William Shakespeare, to the compositions of Bach, Miles Davis, and Metallica.
When you join us at CloudFest 2022, you can expect Harari’s presentation to be a masterclass in how technology can help humans flourish. We’ll get insights to guide us in our next steps toward meeting this exciting, challenging, and pivotal moment in our collective evolution. The leaders of the internet infrastructure industry also just happen to be human beings, so CloudFest is the perfect venue for us to tackle these big (and, let’s be honest, kind of scary) questions together in a friendly and supportive space.
Check out the rest of the CloudFest 2022 agenda to get a sense of how we’re setting up the world of the Cloud to write its own future. Register for free using this link, and start planning your CloudFest experience today!