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Facing the World's Unpredictability

Margaret Heffernan's Talk on Unpredictability is Human-Centric

— August 14, 2019 — Keynote Trends
The talk on unpredictability is delivered by Margaret Heffernan — a writer and entrepreneur who has been the former CEO of five businesses. The speaker harnesses her expertise in the field to draw a correlation between humans and technology, advocating for the importance of relations and preparedness, rather than efficiency.

Margaret Heffernan identifies contemporary workplaces that utilize algorithms to predict and form assumptions, as well as govern time, as "scientific management on steroids." While she recognizes efficiency as being important, she also stresses that it is better to prepare for the unexpected, because "the unexpected is becoming the norm." She gives a few examples during her talk on unpredictability of entities that favor robustness of ideas rather than streamline efficiency. The list includes the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) who develops multiple vaccines for various diseases that might never be used but are good to have when there is a possible outbreak. Another example is the many countries who are adopting various solutions for climate change in order to secure a better future. The talk on unpredictability also defends failed experiments that "look inefficient" but are "the only way to figure out how the real world works."

So, in an age where efficiency at the workplace and outside of it is governed by the extensive use of technology, Margaret Heffernan calls for "preparedness, coalition-building, imagination, experiments, [and[ bravery" — traits that are uniquely human and ones that have a "limitless capacity for adaptation, variation, and invention."