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How We Make the Decisions That Matter

RSA Event


The Great Room, RSA House

  • Behaviour change
  • Institutional reform
  • Arts and society

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What links 17th century urban planning and contemporary artificial intelligence? 


We've heard a lot in recent years about the science of quick-thinking, intuitive choices. But what about more consequential decisions, the ones that affect our lives and societies for years, or centuries, to come? Our most powerful stories revolve around these kinds of deliberative decisions: where to live, whom to marry, what to believe, whether to start a company, how to end a war. 

Bestselling popular science author Steven Johnson fuses cognitive science, social psychology, military strategy, environmental planning, and great works of literature to shed light on the nature of long-term decisions. He visits the UK to argue that we choose better when we break out of the myopia of single-scale thinking and develop methods for considering all the factors involved. There's no one-size-fits-all model for the important decisions that can alter the course of a life, an organisation, or a civilisation. But we can approach these choices more effectively, and appreciate the subtle intelligence of choices that shaped our broader social history.


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