Dr. B Asks, “What are you reading?”

“Every Christmas my wife gives me a novel, and I read it over the holiday in about a day and a half”

Article Dr. Erika Behrisch Elce

Welcome to the inaugural piece in a new series for e-Veritas by roving lit reporter Erika Behrisch Elce. “What are you reading?” will be a regular feature that gets between the pages with folks on the peninsula, showcasing the wondrous variety of reading tastes at RMC, and the vibrancy of our lives as readers and thinkers.

Col Chris Ayotte, Director of Cadets, chatted about the book he’s currently reading: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. “I mostly read non-fiction, and I’m especially interested in AI and predictions about the future of humanity,” Col Ayotte says. “It isn’t just about computers: Harari talks about systems of money, too, for instance, and the real value that we ascribe to what is essentially an abstract system. It’s this collective organization, Harari says, that defines our species.”

Homo Deus is a sequel to Harari’s Sapiens, a book that traces the history of humanity. “I’ve read Sapiens, and the start of Harari’s second book is a bit of a recap. I’m interested to see what he thinks the future holds. He talks about our growing reliance on big data, AI and machine learning; in the face of so much technology and our dependence on it, the question for our future is how we will actually define ‘being human’.”

Does he ever read fiction? “Oh yes: every Christmas my wife gives me a novel, and I read it over the holiday in about a day and a half. It usually relates to my interest in society and technology, like Daniel Wilson’s Robopocalypse. It’s a good break for when the non-fiction gets a little heavy.”

What’s one of his favourite books? “Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient.”


  • Maj Andy B

    September 11, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Great work indeed, Erika, and these are great book choices, mon colonel. Might have to ask you to come speak to my ENE415 Literature, Culture, and Evolution class next year. Cadets are intrigued by the overarching question of what the future holds for our species: perhaps foremost in terms of the posthumanism you mention but also via questions of how we got here in the first place, why we bothered creating “art” along the way, what evolutionary advantages it might confer, what it means to see “human” as a process and not an object, and even whether conflict seems inevitable should tensions grow as discussions of our cosmological and terrestrial irrelevance confront longstanding religious beliefs that still tend to place humans at the centre of meaning and purpose in the universe.

    And, of course, what this all means for them as future leaders in the profession of arms.

    Great idea Erika. Is this like tag, where we get to ask you to pick your next victim lol?