On November 18, 2021, Aurélien Portelli, assistant professor at Mines Paris, presented at the Leibniz Center in Berlin a lecture entitled “Surviving the machines: coping with extreme situations in contexts of industrial disaster and shipwreck”. This lecture, based on research conducted with Franck Guarnieri and Sébastien Travadel of the CRC de Mines paris, and Nebiha Guiga, historian at the Leibniz Center, proposed to explain the logic at work in an extreme situation confronting humans to machines, based on two cases presented to the public. The first focused on the Fukushima Daiichi disaster that occurred on March 11, 2011, and the second on the shipwreck of the Medusa on July 2, 1816, immortalized by the painter Théodore Géricault. Aurélien Portelli would like to thank Henning Trüper, head of the programm area “History of Theory” and the ERC project “Archipelagic Imperatives. Shipwreck and Lifesaving in European Societites since 1800” for his invitation and his welcome. The meeting opened research perspectives between the CRC and Leibniz Center teams, which will lead to collaborative projects in 2022.