Recommended Reading: The Past, Present and Future of Human Health

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Social interaction is a key factor in keeping your health. Here are suggestions of fascinating books covering the past, present and future of humanity for your summer reading. They provide interesting discussion topics with your friends and families, starting with the latest research on how human genes evolved, surprisingly positive current trends and where our future is leading. Here are a few tidbits:

  • Genetics has shown that people are different and these differences cluster according to geography and culture but never in a way that aligns with the traditional concepts of human races.
  • There has never been a better time to be a human being.
  • For the first time in history, more people die today from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists, and criminals combined.
  • By 2030, it is predicted that 17% of jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) while AI will create 7% new jobs. The net loss of 10% of the jobs will significantly impact society. How should you prepare?

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived:The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes by Adam Rutherford

Because of recent discoveries, the scientific understanding of how DNA impacts our bodies, minds and lives has changed considerably. Adam Rutherford elegantly traces the evolution of humanity from the story of what modern genetics tell us about ourselves and our genetic relationship to others. The concept of race does not exist within genetics. If you are considering getting your DNA analyzed, read this book first! It gives you the background to understand the history of your body.

Enlightenment Now by Stephen Pinker

We receive negative news stories every day. They create psychological biases and leave us with the impression that the world is getting worse. Fortunately, the data trends show that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. Reading Stephen Pinker’s positive and eloquent book will increase your own happiness and health too. 

Homo Deus, A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Described as shocking and entertaining, Homo Deus explores whether humanity will evolve beyond Homo Sapiens and what that future might look like. This book is highly thought-provoking, certainly controversial and forever memorable. By keeping our health, we can see how much of Harari’s vision becomes true.

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark

The sophistication of AI technology and the rise of greater on-demand computing power continues to conquer areas that were not thought to be programmable. In July 2019, Pluribus AI defeated top Texas Hold’Em Poker players in a multiplayer game of bluffing and limited information. Google’s DeepMind division has been applying artificial intelligence to problems like computer vision and climate change, but there’s still some room for games. DeepMind first dominated the game of Go, then took on seven Atari games including Space Invaders and has moved on to real time multiplayer online strategy game StarCraft II, beating some of the world’s top players in heads-up play. 

Beyond gaming, our future depends on how we adapt to work with and not against benevolent future AI technology. MIT professor Max Tegmark’s book on Life 3.0 is a great place to start your thought-process on your future with AI. Although a few chapters are more suited for a technical audience, it is fine to skim them or have an AI explain them further to you.

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