CSDMS 2021: Changing Landscapes and Seascapes: Modeling for Discovery, Decision Making, and Communication

Good Decisions Without Good Predictions: Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty

Robert Lempert

RAND Corporation, United States

Quantitative analysis is often indispensable for making sound policy choices. But when decisionmakers confront today’s conditions of fast-paced, transformative, and even surprising change, they sometimes find that commonly used quantitative methods and tools prove counterproductive or lead them astray. Typically, quantitative analysis provides decisionmakers with information about the future by making predictions. But predictions are often wrong, and relying on them can be dangerous. Moreover, decisionmakers know that predictions are often wrong; this can cause them to discount or ignore the crucial information that quantitative analysis can provide. Fortunately, the combination of new information technology and new insights from the decision sciences now enables innovative ways to support decisions with quantitative analysis. This talk describes how one such approach—Robust Decision Making (RDM)—informs good decisions without requiring confidence in and agreement on predictions and offers examples of its increasing impact in a wide range of policy areas.

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Of interest for:
  • Terrestrial Working Group
  • Coastal Working Group
  • Marine Working Group
  • Education and Knowledge Transfer (EKT) Working Group
  • Cyberinformatics and Numerics Working Group
  • Hydrology Focus Research Group
  • Chesapeake Focus Research Group
  • Critical Zone Focus Research Group
  • Human Dimensions Focus Research Group
  • Geodynamics Focus Research Group
  • Ecosystem Dynamics Focus Research Group
  • Coastal Vulnerability Initiative
  • Continental Margin Initiative
  • Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Initiative
  • Modeling Platform Interoperability Initiative
  • River Network Modeling Initiative