A paradigmatic change is taking place in configuring the future from (calculable) risk to uncertainty (to be prepared for), and is being accelerated by the present pandemic.
I will discuss preparedness, as intended as the societal capacity to respond to, and be prepared for critical events that are at the same time inevitable and unpredictable. I will argue that preparedness gives uncertainty a double face, in both cognitive and moral terms, and it provides two opposite images for future that entwine in the current discourse.
On the one hand uncertainty is associated with fear, and preparedness is intended as personal responsibility that justifies an exacerbated control of social behaviour. The spectre of a digital totalitarianism is now taking shape.
On the other hand uncertainty is associated with possibility, and preparedness is intended as a mindful posture towards the interdependence between human and nature that calls for an ethics –and politics- of care.
In both perspectives science is called upon, however in two different ways. I will develop some conjectural arguments with regard to sociology specifically.