How fast can you blink your eye, or clap your hands? Sure, one or two cups of coffee and a good night’s sleep might help speed things up—but the fact is that there are large-scale, ultrafast systems operating 24/7 on which our livelihoods and pensions depend, but in which there is no hope of real-time human intervention when things go wrong since they are limited only by the speed of light. In fact, the science of such systems is not well understood—in particular, the extreme events or ‘Black Swans’ which are like digital tsunamis. In this talk, Professor Neil Johnson, University of Miami, presents an explicit discussion of one such ultrafast electronic system which is closer to home than you might think. But he also describes how improving our understanding of this system can help our understanding of potentially all others. And this includes the most complex network system of them all—the human brain.