Margaret Heffernan was born in Texas but has spent most of her life in the U.K. She is a TED speaker and has had many successful careers that include thirteen years as a producer of documentaries for the BBC and as a serial entrepreneur and CEO of several tech companies in the United States. She is currently a professor at the University of Bath. Margaret has written four internationally acclaimed books on business and how to live a meaningful life that meets the challenges of our time.
We talked recently about the ideas in her most recent book, “Uncharted – How to Navigate the Future”. Margaret describes how we have become reliant on invisible systems that we do not understand. In the process of outsourcing our intelligence we have lost human skills, such as the ability to read a map, direct our attention, deal with ambiguity, or with people who are different from us. The way we are profiled by technology and algorithms impacts our ability to get jobs or loans or gain access to other opportunities. The scary part is we are unaware of how these systems directly impact our lives. Apps that show us how to raise our children diminish our ability to trust our own judgment. The algorithms are invisible—we do not know how they work or the value system that is embedded in them. But one thing is certain—they are designed to serve the interests of their creators and not the average person.
Here is a link to our QRCA VIEWS Luminaries Interview and to a review of Margaret’s book and a link to the audio podcast on QRCA VIEWS magazine of our conversation.