SFI President and William H. Miller Professor of Complex Systems David Krakauer’s talk from the Symposium on the Complexity of Crisis. To learn more about SFI’s 2020 ACtioN & Board of Trustees Symposium, CLICK HERE.

David Krakauer puts COVID into a historical context by demonstrating how unusual COVID's impact has been given the muted impact of similar past crises. He argues that this is a hallmark of “complexity crises,” and that 2020's outlier nature stems from the concomitant failure of multiple coupled complex systems. This perspective shifts the view away from COVID itself and towards the critical state of the coupled systems that COVID perturbed. David closes by using claustrophobia as a lens for exploring why the complexity of our current crises have led to irrational responses by so many people.

This talk references ideas from David’s recent Nautilus article with former SFI President and Shannan Distinguished Professor Geoffrey West.