From the first stone tool of our ancestors to the first victory of a computer against a human chess grandmaster: our intellectual history is full of astonishing spurts of development. However, they have less to do with the da Vincis and Einsteins, to whom we commonly ascribe them, argues successful author Stefan Klein (“Die Glücksformel”) in his new book, and not so much with the appearance of Homo sapiens on the world stage. Rather, the decisive factor was the increasingly lively exchange of ideas between people. Population growth and knowledge growth are mutually dependent and mutually accelerated. However, both curves point steeply and ever more steeply upwards. And now we are faced with the consequences of our success. We are confronted with supercomputers, “artificial intelligence”, against which even the most intelligent representatives of Homo sapiens lose out. We bring the ecosystems of the earth to their limits – by burning fossil raw materials, mass animal husbandry, full gas consumption.
These new, self-created challenges of humanity form the conclusion of Klein’s “brief history of the human mind”, which shows over millions of years (and various scientific disciplines) in which ways creative thinking and creativity could unfold – and made us what we are today. Markus Wanzeck
HOW WE CHANGE THE WORLD
S. Fischer, 270 p., € 21.00