On knowing more & more and understanding less & less // Yuval Noah Harari

On knowing more & more and understanding less & less // Yuval Noah Harari

“….paradoxically, as we accumulate more data and increase our computing power, events become wilder and more unexpected, The more we know, the less we can predict….

This is the paradox of historical knowledge. Knowledge that does not change behaviour is useless. But knowledge that changes behaviour quickly loses its relevance. The more data we have and the better we understand history, the faster history alters its course, and the faster our knowledge becomes outdated.

Centuries ago human knowledge increased slowly, so politics and economics changed at a leisurely pace, Today our knowledge is increasing at breakneck speed, and theoretically we should understand the world better and better. But the very opposite is happening. Our new-found knowledge leads to faster economic, social and political changes; in an attempt to understand what is happening, we accelerate the accumulation of knowledge, which leads to faster and greater upheavals. Consequently, we are less and less able to make sense of the present or forecast the future.”

— Yuval Noah Harari (“Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow”)

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