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CITIC Press Group, Sina Finance Host Inaugural ESG Global Leaders Summit

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Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind shares opinions on opportunities and challenges in a changing world

BEIJING, Dec. 2, 2021 /CNW/ -- Human society is now in a stage of rapid development amid all manner of uncertainties. On the one hand, state-of-the-art technologies such as artificial intelligence, gene therapy and digital technologies provide us with many opportunities, while on the other hand, the global COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and terrorism are issues that cry out for solutions. The world today is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. How should mankind respond, and what policies should all countries adopt to safeguard their common interests and respond to the global crisis?

Yuval Noah Harari, renowned historian and author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind has deep insight into these questions. At the inaugural ESG Global Leaders Summit recently jointly held by CITIC Press Group (SHE:300788) and Sina Finance, he said that the solutions to issues of international importance need the cooperation of all countries. Harari pointed out that mankind is a community with a shared future especially in the face of global crises such as COVID-19 and global warming. As long as a country refuses to cooperate, the whole world will bear the same severe consequences.

Harari believes that crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic are, from a historical perspective, just an event in the process of human development. In an exclusive article published in the March 21, 2020 issue of China-based Life Week, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind author Yuval Noah Harari asks, "What kind of world will we create amid the epidemic?". He points out that in addition to solving the immediate threats, we need to decide on a long-term governance method, something that will require global trust and cooperation. Countries should share information, exchange experience and actively establish collaborations.

At this point, Harari believes that China's measures and practices are worth learning from. In addition to sharing the full gene sequence of COVID-19 with the World Health Organization (WHO), China has sent many experienced doctors to help other countries battle the disease. He said global solidarity would be not only a victory against COVID-19, but also against all the future epidemics and crises that could arise to pose a danger to humanity in the 21st century.

It is worth noting that the emergence of danger is always accompanied by new opportunities. "Crises often drive the historical process." said Harari in an interview with Xinhua News Agency. Taking how he moved his method of teaching from offline to online as an example, he said the epidemic has greatly changed our way of life, with robots, artificial intelligence and other technologies coming into wide use.

New technologies are infiltrating our lives and affecting the changes in the world economic and political landscapes, while global events have accelerated the process. Similar to dealing with a crisis, to achieve the mutual benefits and win-win results from development opportunities brought about by the technological revolution requires opening up and cooperation among all countries.

In an exclusive interview with German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel in 2019, Harari said that instead of planning for future technologies such as digitalization, many countries focused on raising tariffs and expanding their military, two items that are not helpful for human development. In this context, China focused on these problems with a positive and open mind and has made substantial investment into research on artificial intelligence, biotechnology and the causes of climate change, as well as into solutions that benefit daily life with technologies. The rapid development of mobile payment is just one of these examples.

All mankind is on the same side in the face of global challenges and opportunities. Therefore, as a member of a community of the shared interests, all countries should actively engage in cooperation with an open and sincere attitude to achieve mutual benefit. Harari said: "I firmly believe that it will be difficult for us to return to the world as we once knew it. We now live in a new world and I hope it will be a better one."


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