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New Tools for Decision Support

New Tools for Decision Support: How can New Technologies be Used to Empower Decision Makers?

If you want to get somebody to do something, make it easy.” Richard H. Thaler

Since Kahneman’s Nobel prize-winning research program on heuristics and distortion, there has been a growing tendency to view human decision-making as inherently flawed. Moreover, the sheer quantity and complexity of the information already presents a major challenge for decision-makers today.

Yet new technologies and tools can be used to support decision-making and ultimately expand skill sets: Emotion tracking in real time can be used for biofeedback, for example to warn decision-makers about the potentially damaging effects of strong emotions or to provide timely support in case of observable confusion. New conversational interfaces can help with overcoming initial barriers and fears when people are faced with difficult decisions in complex informational environments. Even small changes to the decision architecture (“nudges”) can have a major impact.

These fascinating new opportunities give rise to many research questions, some of which are currently being discussed at NIM:

  • How can the need for decisional support be determined? Which biometric tools are helpful, and how can the best timing be determined?
  • How should help with decision-making be structured so that it is accepted by users without causing resentment or even resistance?
  • Is there a way to support decision-making while also increasing the skill sets of users in order to generalize positive effects for new decision-making environments?
  • How can new technologies help close the gap between intention and behavior? Can new technologies help decision-makers achieve their goals and uphold their values?

Our research projects: