Session type:

Keynote

Presented by:

Abeba Birhane

School of Computer Science and Informatics, University College Dublin

Session duration:

60 minutes

About the session

Imagine a world where we are able to predict people's behaviour with precision, such as whether a person is about to commit a crime. A lot of our problems would disappear.

The quest for absolute certainty has been at the top of the agenda for Western science. We value certainty, stability and uniformity; whereas most of reality, instead of being orderly and stable, is messy, seething with change, disorder and process.

People, far from being predictable and predetermined, are complex, social and dynamical beings that inherently exist in a web of relations. In this session, I will contend that current technological developments have inherited this tradition to strive for absolute certainty.

This is not only an unattainable goal so far as understanding people and the social world is concerned, but also a dangerous state to aspire to. Furthermore, instead of viewing it as a limitation, I will illustrate why uncertainty is something we need to embrace.

About the speaker(s)