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The All Things Risk Podcast

The All Things Risk podcast explores the themes of risk, uncertainty and resilience as applied to sports, the arts, current affairs and just about any other domain. We feature long-form conversations with interesting guests who have loads of fascinating stories, tips and tools.
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Nov 18, 2020

Today, we talk about unintended consequences, which seems very appropriate for 2020. My guest is Paul Orlando. Paul is a specialist in helping startups succeed, teaches business at the University of Southern California and for the purposes of this episode, is an accomplished thinker and writer on unintended consequences or so-called “second order effects”. He runs a blog by that name and his insightful articles have appeared in a range or publications.

Paul has written over 80 articles on unintended consequences that offer fascinating insights we discuss in this episode, including:

  • Why self-checkouts create an increase in shoplifting;
  • How AI facial recognition technology can lead to false arrests;
  • Why eliminating disease-carrying mosquitoes is not such a good idea

Paul’s work on unintended consequences is an apt reminder that for better or worse, human beings do not know how everything works, that uncertainty is an enduring aspect of our world, and that this has profound implications for the way in which we make decisions. Unintended consequences are all around us. As we understand them better and appreciate complexity and systems more, we can, as Paul puts it, thrive.

Show notes:

Paul’s Unintended Consequences blog;

Paul on Twitter;

Paul on autonomous vehicles;

Paul on self checkouts;

Paul on AI and false arrests;

Paul on mosquitoes;

The precautionary principle;

Charlie Munger

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Our free course module “How to Set Up Any Decision for Success” from our upcoming course How to Make Decisions With Calm and Confidence

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