We are increasingly better at predicting things about our environment. Modern weather forecasts are a lot better than they used to be, and our ability to predict climate change illustrates our better understanding of our effect on our environment. But what about predicting our collective effect on ourselves? We now use tools like Google maps to predict how long it will take us to drive to work, and other small things, but we fail miserably when it comes to many of the big things. For example, the recent financial crisis cost the world tens of trillions of pounds, yet our ability to forecast, understand and mitigate the next economic crisis is very low. Is this inherently impossible? Or perhaps we are just not going about it the right way? The complex systems approach to economics, which brings in insights from the physical and natural sciences, presents an alternative to standard methods. Doyne will explain what this new approach is and give a few examples of its successes so far. He will then present a vision of the economics of the future, which will need to confront the serious problems that the world will soon face.
J. Doyne Farmer is Director of the Complexity Economics program at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School and Professor in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford, and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.
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