Didier Sornette studies whether it is possible to anticipate big changes or predict crises in complex systems.

Why you should listen

While financial crashes, recessions, earthquakes and other extreme events appear chaotic, Didier Sornette's research is focused on finding out whether they are, in fact, predictable. They may happen often as a surprise, he suggests, but they don't come out of the blue: the most extreme risks (and gains) are what he calls "dragon kings" that almost always result from a visible drift toward a critical instability. In his hypothesis, this instability has measurable technical and/or socio-economical precursors. As he says: "Crises are not external shocks."

An expert on complex systems, Sornette is the chair of entrepreneurial risk at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and director of the Financial Crisis Observatory, a project to test the hypothesis that markets can be predictable, especially during bubbles. He's the author of Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems.

What others say

"Didier Sornette has immersed his life in risk." — Wall Street Journal

Didier Sornette’s TED talks

Didier Sornette on the TED Blog

Live from TEDGlobal 2013

“Crises are predictable”: Didier Sornette at TEDGlobal 2013

June 12, 2013

Risk economist Didier Sornette makes bold claims on Wednesday morning at TEDGlobal 2013, during the session “Money Talks.” According to Sornette, we have been operating under a few detrimental illusions that have landed us in our current economic state: One, we have been living in an age of never-ending growth and prosperity. Well, $30 trillion […]

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Live from TEDGlobal 2013

Money Talks: The speakers in session 4 at TEDGlobal 2013

June 12, 2013

In the immortal words of the Wu-Tang Clan, “Cash rules everything around me.” Then again, as Benjamin Franklin put it, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” So how are we to parse this thing — money — which shapes so much of our lives? This session will make you think again about economics, taking […]

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