Framers: Human Advantage in an Age of Technology and Turmoil

With Cukier, Mayer-Schönberger, de Véricourt

Join us for a virtual discussion with the three co-authors of Framers, which focuses on the essential tool that can enable humanity to find its way through the challenges of pandemics, populism, AI, ISIS, wealth inequity, climate change, and other worldwide problems that threaten our current civilizations. To frame is to make a mental model that enables us to see patterns, predict how things will unfold, and make sense of new situations. Frames guide the decisions we make and the results we obtain. Science has long focused on traits like memory and reasoning, but has often ignored framing. But with computers becoming better and better at those cognitive tasks, framing stands out as a critical function—and one only humans can do.

Illustrating their case with compelling examples and the latest research, Cukier, Mayer-Schönberger and de Véricourt examine: why advice to “think outside the box” is useless; why the Wright brothers, with no formal physics training, were the first to fly; what enabled the 1976 Israeli hostage rescue at Entebbe to succeed; and how the #MeToo twitter hashtag reframed the perception of sexual assault. They also show why framing Covid-19 as equivalent to a seasonal flu failed, and how modeling it on SARS succeeded in New Zealand. Framers shows how framing is not just a way to improve how we make decisions in an era of algorithms, but is also an ever more crucial tool in a time of societal upheaval and machine prosperity.