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The Zero Risk Society : A COVID application

Francesco Maria Russo

The Zero Risk Society : A COVID application.

Rel. Luca Dall'Asta, Didier Sornette. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Physics Of Complex Systems (Fisica Dei Sistemi Complessi), 2021

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Human society can be considered an out of equilibrium system characterised by a complex evolution often perturbed by extreme rare events. These perturbations can be both exogenous like pandemics or earthquakes and endogenous like financial crises, wars, scarcity of resources etc. Some of these stressors may also be real unknown unknowns and, therefore, impossible to predict. For this reason, a vital ingredient of a resilient society is not trying to prevent and control all the unpredictabilities that we may face. In- deed this rush towards eliminating all the risks and be assured against everything leaves society extremely vulnerable to the aforementioned calamities . Instead, a healthy society aims to balance the natural and riskless incremental accumulation of knowledge with bold leaps of faith, leading to new revolutionary inventions that advance humanity forward. In other words, great challenges require the opportunity, empowerment, and the willingness to take risks to find solutions. Humanity, however, seems aimed in the opposite direction. Over the past decades, we have been experiencing stagnation mostly (but not also) in the fields of technology and economics by mistaking revolution- ary inventions with apps that have a marginal impact on our life and characterised by a decline in new risky but visionary investments. Five leading causes are believed to be responsible for this frozen “Zero Risk” phase of society, and they are: 1. Risk aversion as a consequence of increasing wealth and aging of society; 2. Increasing inequality with a growing proportion of citizens that have no or less access to opportunity forced to live by the day; 3. Technology creating the illusion that everything can be controlled; 4. Herding and imitation behaviour of the population through social media; 5. Management shaped by extremes and overreaction. This work is part of a bigger project in observing the Zero Risk phase transition of society we described above by creating an agent-based model in which the individuals are embedded in a society with the previously mentioned characteristic. One effort that I will call I Zero Risk Society, described in the thesis project of my colleague Aventaggiato, tackles more directly the issue of the lack of investment in risky, and possibly revolutionary, assets characterised by this phase of society. The perturbation is in this case the high volatility of the risky asset the agents may want to invest in. The present work, on the other hand, aims to contextualise the original project of the Zero Risk Society in a particular scenario when an exogenous stressor like a pandemic along the lines of COVID19 hits society in order to show how the causes that led to the paralysation of the society have the same effects no matter the type of perturbation.

Relators: Luca Dall'Asta, Didier Sornette
Academic year: 2021/22
Publication type: Electronic
Number of Pages: 46
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Physics Of Complex Systems (Fisica Dei Sistemi Complessi)
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-44 - MATHEMATICAL MODELLING FOR ENGINEERING
Ente in cotutela: ETH (SVIZZERA)
Aziende collaboratrici: ETH Zurich
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/20442
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