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Can humanity survive the 21st Century? Risks have threatened society throughout history, but today emerge and intensify at a faster rate, as the world evolves and grows more complex. We examine how the Black Death caused a societal collapse, how technological advance and cyber risks threaten our world today, and question whether civilisations can build resilience to survive the future of risk.
Solving cyber risk
Éireann Leverett (Senior Risk Researcher, Centre for Risk Studies; CEO of Concinnity Risks)
Cyber is among the greatest threats facing the world today. The rapidly evolving digital landscape exposes vulnerabilities that can make hackers a fortune, advance political agendas, or pose an existential threat to our society. Éireann Leverett is an ethical hacker with many years of experience in cyber security and the impacts of computer security failures and accidents. In this talk, Éireann will explore and demystify the threat of cyber attacks, and ask, if avoiding cyber attacks isn’t an option, how can we prepare and protect ourselves?
What can we do if societal collapses are inevitable?
Our deep past is marked by recurring failure and transformation. Empires, kingdoms and states around the globe have collapsed throughout history. What can we do if collapse is simply a normal phenomenon that complex societies inevitably undergo? This talk will outline a strategy for building civilizational resilience. I detail effective mechanisms for resilience and recovery by drawing on insights from the study of ecosystems, mechanical systems and previous civilizations. These tools provide a roadmap for making modern society robust to even the worst black swan events.
Diseased cities: exploring the Black Death in Cambridge
The Black Death was one of the most devastating epidemics in the history of the world, killing between one third and half of Europe’s population. Historians have primarily focused on how this unprecedented catastrophe impacted society. What is less often explored is the biological impacts of the plague on the survivors. Based on the findings from a Wellcome Trust funded project entitled ‘After the Plague: Health and History of Medieval Cambridge’, this talk will provide new insights into the health of the population surrounding the largest epidemic disease in history.
Lele Saa (Visual storyteller/printmaking/ceramics/digital illustration)
As part of the Creative Reactions project, Lele will be presenting artwork inspired by the research of speakers in this talk series. The artwork will also be on display at our Creative Reactions Exhibition at St Barnabas Church, 24 - 25 May.