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Fact Check-World Economic Forum did not declare ‘God is dead’ or that humans would become gods

Social media posts have claimed without evidence that leaders of the World Economic Forum (WEF) have said “God is dead” and that they will turn humans into gods.

A video shared online shows a woman citing an article by the website NewsPunch (here), an outlet that has been debunked by Reuters Fact Check in the past. In the video, a woman claims Klaus Schwab, leader of the WEF, said “God is dead” and that “WEF leaders have acquired divine powers to rule over humanity” (here), (here).

She reads another quote from the article that claims, “Klaus Schwab’s right hand man Yuval Noah Harari has announced that the WEF has been so successful in its plans that it is “acquiring divine powers” of “creation and destruction.” She adds that Harari “promises the WEF will turn humans into Gods.”

Yann Zopf, a spokesperson for the WEF said that neither the WEF and nor Klaus Schwab ever made such a declaration. Moreover, Yuval Noah Harari is not working for the WEF and is not “Klaus Schwab’s right-hand man,” Zopf said, adding that the existence of a bio of Harari on the WEF’s website “simply means he attended one of our events, but he is not at all working for our organization.” (here).

Harari’s public relations team confirmed to Reuters via email that Harari has never worked for the World Economic Forum or met Schwab, but that he was invited to speak at the WEF’s Davos conference in 2018 and 2020 (here), (here). The representatives added that Harari has never claimed the WEF should rule the world or that the organization is planning to acquire divine powers.

Harari is a professor and the author of a book titled Sapiens: A Graphic History. The quotes in the social media posts are taken from a 2020 interview about that book, which his public relations team pointed to (here) (1:05:29).

In a longer excerpt from his response to an interview question, Harari said: “Now humans are developing even bigger powers than ever before. We are really acquiring divine powers of creation and destruction. We are really upgrading humans into gods. We are acquiring, for example, the power to re-engineer life.”

In a 2017 interview with the Huffington Post about another of his books, Harari said that technology, artificial intelligence and science give human beings godlike qualities (here).

A Google search for “Klaus Schwab” and “God is dead” did not result in any reports from credible news sources of similar statements by Schwab. In Schwab’s book (here ), he discusses the impact of technology on humanity.

Reuters has repeatedly debunked claims from NewsPunch put forth without evidence (here), (here), (here).

The current NewsPunch article makes multiple claims outside the scope of this fact check. NewsPunch did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

VERDICT

No evidence. The WEF did not state that “God is dead” or that the organization would turn humans into gods. An author who does not work for the WEF likened technological advancement to humans gaining godlike powers.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here.

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