SFWRITER.COM > Novels > Hominids > Interview Topics
Discover What It Means To Be Human
SUGGESTED SEGMENT TOPICS
Copyright © 2002 by Robert J. Sawyer
All Rights Reserved.
What Price Privacy?
As the world steps up its battle against terrorism, much
thought has been given to finding a suitable balance between
fundamental liberties and the safety of society. In Robert
J. Sawyer's new book Hominids, he introduces the
idea of personal black boxes: implanted devices that make
flawless recordings of everything a person sees and does, and, by
tying into the Global Positioning System, keep an exact record of
where you are at every moment.
All this information is transmitted in a safely encrypted format
to secure "alibi archives." The technology for such perfect
logging of a person's life exists today, and it could put an end
to everything from misplaced keys and lost hikers to kidnapping,
rape, armed robbery, child abuse, and almost all other crimes.
Of course, such records would only be accessible by you and, when
needed, by the courts.
We could do this today. Why don't we? What safeguards would we
need to put in place to make sure such a system wasn't abused?
Was Religion Inevitable?
Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience suggest that the human
brain is hardwired for mystical experiences or, to put it
more bluntly, that there's a "god organ" in the brain,
genetically programmed to believe in a higher power, out-of-body
experiences, life after death, and so on.
Now that we're on the track of explaining faith scientifically,
there will be those who will claim that humanity can be "cured"
of religion and maybe it should be. In his provocative
new book HOMINIDS, Robert J. Sawyer argues that
religion has been the single greatest negative force in human
history, responsible for most suffering, intolerance, injustice,
and war, and that, ironically, it's our belief in an afterlife
that allowed us to send our children off to die in battle, to
keep slaves, and so on.
Would any intelligent lifeform develop a belief in a god and
devise creation myths? Or were these odd quirks of human
psychology that might not be duplicated in other lifeforms? We
can talk to our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, with
sign language. They don't believe in God or an afterlife, so why
Farming: The Hidden Evil
We know where and when farming began: 10,500 years ago, in the
Fertile Crescent at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. And we
tend to think of it as humanity's single greatest invention.
But even back in Biblical times, it was viewed with suspicion:
God accepted Abel's gift of meat, but rejected Cain's gift of
crops. And today, after millennia of agriculture, we still have
over a billion people starving on this planet.
New studies suggest that the adoption of farming and animal
husbandry led directly to overpopulation, most modern human
diseases, the devaluing of the elderly, slavery, and a host of
other ills. In Robert J. Sawyer's provocative new book
HOMINIDS, we get to examine what Earth might have
been like if we'd built our technological world on a
hunter/gatherer base, instead of an agricultural one, and we
examine whether it's too late to change our course.
More Good Reading
More information about Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer
HOME • MENU • TOP
Copyright © 1995-2016 by Robert J. Sawyer.