Yuval Noah Harari, the history professor, author, and, increasingly Silicon Valley’s favorite philosopher, is not afraid to talk about the social inequities created by the very products built by his fans in the tech world.
In an interview at the Fast Company Innovation Festival, powered by Gucci, Harari was quick to point out that technological advancements and automation is likely to create “immense power and wealth” in tech hubs such as Silicon Valley and parts of China, “while many countries might completely collapse.” He suggested a “global safety net” might be the only way to help close the divide, but he was pessimistic that the current geopolitical environment would support the kind of cooperation needed to develop such protections for endangered economies.
He was also blunt about what he called “the naivete” of some tech company CEOs, who personally express concern for equality and inclusiveness but sit atop companies that often exacerbate divisions. “If they have a serious problem, it’s more a problem of naivete than of malice,” he said. “Their understanding of history, politics, culture, society, this is not their strong part. They have a naive understanding . . . of what their creations will do to society.”