Jakob Rusinek of The Decision Lab interviewed David Halpern, Chief Executive of the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT). The audio and the transcript are posted here: Nudging the nudgers, machine learning and personalized interventions: A Conversation with David Halpern.

« Some things are obvious but wrong
“Sometimes it’s being considered so self-evident that something is a no brainer; you say: ‘Of course, you should do the following.’ In medicine, particularly, this is referred to as the parachute test. It would be unethical to run a controlled trial because it’s so obvious that this thing is more effective [than what we currently use]. What is worth bearing in mind is there are now some very famous examples where people made that argument and when someone finally got around to doing a controlled trial, it turned out that the assumption was wrong. Wherever we can, we should check—and we should also check for other reasons, which is that: do we understand what the active ingredient is?” »

« Nudging for good: conflicts and social mobility
“We’re really into what can you do to use behavioral science to stop conflicts and to reduce the reignition of previous conflicts which is very exciting. Social mobility will be another grey area and one of those great deep issues.” »

David Halpern is the author of Social Capital (2005), the Hidden Wealth of Nations (2010), Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference (2015) and co-author of the MINDSPACE report.


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