Miriam Meckel, Editor-in-Chief of the influential German weekly economics magazine “Wirtschaftswoche”, and former Professor of Corporate Communication at the University of St Gallen, speaks on April 19, 2016 at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University. The seminar at Harvard is chaired by Klaus F. Zimmermann, Harvard University and UNU – MERIT, on leave from Bonn University.
Meckel outlines the dangers of a future where human emotions and chance decisions are replaced by technological algorithms. In discussing Europe’s refugee and debt crises, as well as in many other current battles of ideas, these calculations have buried serendipity and discovery in a way that threatens the liberal virtues of the Enlightenment. While the Enlightenment championed skepticism and intellectual exchange, the new digital world of data-tracking, automatization, and personalization can create and harden impenetrable silos of opinions. As a consequence, serendipity might be buried.