Ralph Hertwig is the Director of the Center of Adaptive Rationality at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Prior to this, he was a professor of cognitive and decision sciences and later Dean at the University of Basel, Psychology Department. He is the recipient of multiple prizes for his research and teaching on models of bounded and ecological rationality.
Transcription of the video
Well, let me first say that, as we all know, predictions are hard, especially when they are about the future. And another important insight that we should keep in mind is that nothing is per se, only positive or only negative. A lot of these things have unintended consequences, and they can be negative and positive. So, in answering your question, I think what the pandemic will do, it will work as a catalyst for a stronger digitalization, the impact of digital technologies on our life. And that is, in my view, going to have major consequences, of which I hope most are positive. It will affect the way we educated. It will affect the way we live, where we live, in cities or on the countryside. It will affect the way we work, our working hours, it will affect the way we shop, it will affect the way we interact with each other. These are going to be major changes. That will be my prediction.
I would say two things. One is to have a good attitude of an experimenter, things will be different. And we need to experiment and we look at the consequences of our behavior and how it interacts with the world and act accordingly or choose accordingly. And the other one is the wisdom to discern between the good and the bad consequences of the impact of digitalization on our lives.
I think, unfortunately, the most notable difference that I fear is going to occur is an increase in inequality. I think that as a consequence of this pandemic, certain jobs will disappear. The importance of education will increase and some people in the way we educate now will be left behind. We will also see differences, of course, between countries. So, I think that both within our countries individually, but also globally, we will see, unfortunately, a real increase in inequality.
Here I actually think I would not expect that the solution lies in the behavior of the individual. But, I think here society and institutions are particularly important and I think they have to provide the foundation, the scaffolding for coping with these inequalities.
Here would just say one word: care. And with care, I mean care about ourselves. That means exercise, eat good food, think about what you really like and enjoy and do it. But also, care about other people. Care about other people, care about your family, care about your friends, help where you can without jeopardizing your safety. Helping other people, it’s also something that makes us feel good, and is good for will be. So, care.