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Pascal Picq

Who will take power? Great apes, Politicians or Robots

Pascal Picq, lecturer, holds the paleo-anthropology and pre-history chair at the Collège de France. He is the author of such best-selling books as Au commencement était l’homme (“In the Beginning Was Man”), Lucy et l’obscurantisme (“Lucy and Obscurantism”), L’homme est-il un grand singe politique ? (“Is Man a Political Ape?” and De Darwin à Levi-Strauss. L’homme et la diversité en danger (“From Darwin to Levi-Strauss: Man and Diversity in Danger”).
Erudite and mischievous, Pascal Picq offers nothing less than a “quick look at major advances over the course of the history of humanity,” in other words, a history of progress in a Condorcet-like spirit... revisited by Jeremy Rifkins! Identifying seven major periods, he reveals the evolutionary mechanisms that rule these profound upheavals, and portrays the evolution of human societies from Homo erectus to “improved man” and new technologies.
Exploring the anthropological foundations of transhumanism, Pascal Picq questions the notion of progress measured against the exclusion it produces, defends diversity and pleads for a less-stressful relationship with nature.

“Some two million years ago, bifacial tools and fire modified both the physiology and the cognitive capacities of the first humans, and they would conquer the New World. Now, NBIC (Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science) enables us to improve our bodies and minds, which have arrived at the outer reaches of their ‘natural’ evolution. If I were a god, observing humans from on high in Olympus, I would chuckle at the thought that there was nothing new under the sun. The only thing that has changed in what we’re living through today is the scope and speed of transformation. The evolutionary mechanisms that govern the changes unique to human societies however, remain the same…” P. Picq


Pascal Picq est paléoanthropologue et maître de conférences au Collège de France. Ses recherches sur l’évolution de l’homme s’intéressent à ses origines comme aux profonds changements anthropologiques en cours. Il est à la fois très engagé dans la diffusion des connaissances en paléoanthropologie et dans les transformations de nos sociétés (Observatoire de l’ubérisation de la société, Institut de la souveraineté numérique, MENE...) sous le regard de l’anthropologie évolutionniste.