Margaret Heffernan

How Should We Think About the Future?

with Margaret Heffernan, Rebecca Brown, David Farrell and Ian Green

Festival of Ideas/
Fri 06 March 2020

How Should We Think About the Future?

with Margaret Heffernan, Rebecca Brown, David Farrell and Ian Green

Margaret Heffernan
Fri 06 March 2020,

We are addicted to prediction, desperate for certainty about the future. But the complexity of modern life won’t provide that; experts in forecasting are reluctant to look more than 400 days out. History doesn’t repeat itself and even genetics won’t tell you everything you want to know. Ineradicable uncertainty is now a fact of life. But thinking ahead is what we all do: planning careers, families, companies, countries. So how can we face the future if we don’t know what it holds?

Margaret Heffernan’s new book, Uncharted: How to Map the Future, argues that not knowing the future must not leave us passive. She looks at long-term projects developed over generations that could never have been planned the way that they have been run. Experiments, led by individuals and nations, discover new options, and radical exercises in forging new futures with wildly diverse participants allow everyone to create outcomes together that none could do alone. Existential crises reveal the vital social component in resilience. And preparedness – doing everything today that you might need for tomorrow – provides the antidote to passivity and prediction.

This session challenges us to resist the false promises of technology and efficiency and instead to mine our own creativity and humanity for the capacity to create the futures we want and can believe in.

Margaret Heffernan is joined by three people:

Rebecca Brown, Communications Planner at the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales;

David Farrell, a political scientist who helped bring citizens’ assemblies to Ireland;

Ian Green, Chief Executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, on existential crises.

The future is forged by those who aren’t passive believers in forecasting – but by those who can think and act together. Join us for an evening of exploration and invention.

This is an extended evening event with an interval. There will be a bar at this event.

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