Last November, the 27th Conference on Weights and Measurements from which came four new prefixes for the International System of Units. These new forms of measurement are ronna (with 27 zeros after the first digit) and quetta (with 30 zeros after the first digit), which are now the top measure, ronto (27 zeros after the decimal point) and quecto (30 zeros after the decimal point), which are at the bottom of the measure.

The reason for these four new measurements is that more and more digital data is being created, and the modern world needs new measurement units to keep up with the exponentially expanding numbers. However, this exponential increase in data will significantly impact the way we make decisions as human beings.

If, on the one hand, a greater amount of data makes it possible (in theory) that the decision-making process can be based on a greater choice of information, thus contributing to more reasoned and informed decisions, on the other hand, an overabundance of data can lead to information overload and decision paralysis, making it difficult to manage options to make decisions quickly and confidently.

It is important to note that having more data does not necessarily mean better decision-making, as data quality is more important than quantity. Furthermore, developing skills and tools that help us navigate an ever-increasing sea of ​​data is crucial to process and analyze the increasingly complex environment in which we live.

If we add the concept of Bounded rationality (theory that rationality in decision-making processes is limited and that, within these limits, rational individuals tend to select satisfactory decisions over optimal ones), data that are not “curated”, nor have a curator, have a lower probability/opportunity to make informed decisions.

So what can be done to reverse this scenario?

Some of the approaches are to “Cure” and process the data to help reduce the effect of information overload and facilitate the extraction of insights from the data; use diverse perspectives, involving diverse groups of people with different prisms in the decision-making process to help mitigate biases, thus promoting the improvement of the quality of decisions; betting on continuous learning by updating the decision-making process as a way of promoting adaptation to new information and environments.

Many other approaches may gain traction as we move into a future where words that are unfamiliar to us today, such as ronna, quetta, ronto and quecto, will become as familiar as centimeter, meter, kilometer or kilogram.

Thus, the implementation and development of new strategies appear as a necessary way for a more informed reading of the reality that surrounds us. Betting in this sense is to endow ourselves with a differentiated purpose to function in a world where the pace of change is measured with many zeros.

Miguel Oliveira is responsible for the intersection of Psychology and technology and coordinator of the Cybersecurity team at OPP – Ordem dos Psicólogos Portugueses


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