Recently in Brazil, two of my all-time favorite authors, thinkers (Jared Diamond and Yuval Noah Harari) had a conversation moderated by Ronaldo Lemos during the ‘Global Citizen’ event at Teatro Santander – São Paulo, Brazil. The conversation lasted about 45 mins. I recommend everyone to watch it. As historians, they both have perspectives of hundreds of thousands of years and help us to frame what is happening in historical context.
While they both agree on many issues and Yuval acknowledged that his initial inspirations came from Jared, you can still see a clear difference in their POVs, their articulation. One of the key issues they brought up is the idea of the digital sanctuary/digital health; how important it is. It makes me think about the current attention economy and how many brilliant minds in the world are devoting a significant amount of their efforts to make us spend more and more time on different screens. Human species are social animals, yet I am not sure how well we adapt to conducting most of our social interactions through a screen, the impact it has on our brain, our emotional intelligence, our social skills, etc.
As for the topic of education and what/how we can train our future generations, I am surprised to learn about the US examples from Jared. Yuval’s response to this topic is consistent with what he has been saying in other forums. Thinking about this personally, I have to say that I am very impressed with the quality of the Singapore public school system. My daughter is going to a normal public primary school in Singapore. At school, they teach her (in kid version) the 7 habits of highly effective people! wow! Also, they have a very nice blend of academic curriculum and developing kid social skills. Singapore can do this because of its size, but still, I am very impressed.
Back to the conversation, you can watch it in full on YouTube below: