Conference – Suboptimality, the inefficient truth

Date: Thursday 23 May 2024
Time: 9:30 am
Venue: Robert de Sorbon Amphitheatre, SUAD Campus
Open to Public
Free Entry

The marks of humanity are omnipresent on Earth: the Anthropocene is above all the age of performance and control. In turn, the multiple impacts on our environment question the values of this “progress” and its trajectory. Our response so far appears too slow or ill-adapted: many sustainable development solutions are counterproductive and the perspective of a general slowdown does not mobilize either. By studying living systems, we could learn a different way to be Earthlings. While modern human societies have focused their efforts on efficiency and efficacy, life is instead built on heterogeneity, slowness, fluctuations, incoherence… to be robust in a fluctuating environment. This “way of life” already has its pioneers in society: participative housing, agro-ecology, repair workshops, citizen science,… It may open another path to build the age of robustness and cooperation, against the dogma of performance.

About the Speaker

Olivier Hamant is a biologist, director of research at INRAE (the French institute for research on agriculture, food and environment), at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon. He is also heading the Michel Serres institute. He has published ca. 100 scientific articles on biophysics and plant development. This research topic also shed a new light on the question of robustness of living organisms. In the frame the Michel Serres Institute, he contributes to several projects in the fields of art, science and education around the existential issues of the Anthropocene. As an author, he published “la 3ème voie du vivant” (Ed. Odile Jacob) and “Antidote au culte de la performance” (Ed. Gallimard).


This event is part of the sustainability initiative of Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

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