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By: Urs Gasser, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger
Narrated by: Anand Jagatia
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Publisher's Summary

This audiobook narrated by Anand Jagatia reveals how society can shape individual actions in times of uncertainty

When we make decisions, our thinking is informed by societal norms, “guardrails” guiding our decisions, like the laws and rules that govern us. But what are good guardrails in today’s world of overwhelming information flows and increasingly powerful technologies, such as artificial intelligence? Based on the latest insights from the cognitive sciences, economics, and public policy, Guardrails offers a novel approach to shaping decisions by embracing human agency in its social context.

In this visionary book, Urs Gasser and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger show how the quick embrace of technological solutions can lead to results we don’t always want and explain how society itself can provide guardrails more suited to the digital age, ones that empower individual choice while accounting for the social good, encourage flexibility in the face of changing circumstances, and ultimately help us to make better decisions as we tackle the most daunting problems of our times, such as global injustice and climate change.

Whether we change jobs, buy a house, or quit smoking, thousands of decisions large and small shape our daily lives. Decisions drive our economies, seal the fate of democracies, create war or peace, and affect the well-being of our planet. Guardrails challenges the notion that technology should step in where our own decision making fails, laying out a surprisingly human-centered set of principles that can create new spaces for better decisions and a more equitable and prosperous society.

©2024 Urs Gasser and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger (P)2024 Princeton University Press

Critic Reviews

“Balancing individual freedoms and the common good is ever more critical in the velocity of today’s technologically mediated world. Gasser and Mayer-Schönberger brilliantly illustrate that it is the ballast of societal guardrails, in their variety and agility—and not brittle technology—that can protect what we hold most dear: our rights, liberties, and values. This indispensable book is an essential primer for our uncertain present and for achieving a just, democratic future.”—Alondra Nelson, Harold F. Linder Professor, Institute for Advanced Study
“Wise and fluent, erudite yet practical, this remarkable book provides us with a greatly heightened appreciation of the social context in which decisions are and ought to be made in the digital age. As we move into the second quarter of the twenty-first century, an era of uncertainty and fragility, Guardrails should move to the top of the pile on all bedside tables.”—Richard Susskind, author of Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future
“Where and how society ought to shape our individual decisions is a crucial issue for good governance as well as social justice and human well-being. Clear-eyed and gripping, this book offers a much-needed strategy to guide humanity’s future.”—Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation

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