In experts we trust?
In experts we trust?
The authoritativeness of technical experts was severely put to the test during the major recession and debt crisis of the eurozone, and their influence on public opinion has been significantly reduced by the growing importance of social media. However, now more than ever we need experts to resolve the world’s problems.
good morning my name at the is daily corriere del sera and i write from new york about political economic and technological developments in the united states united states the country of experts by excellence the country of science the country which produced so many nobel prizes than the rest of the world the country home to the most important innovations in technology and medicine and also a country in which for quite a few years a phenomenon of partial disaffection vis-a-vis experts scholars scientists people have a certain distrust public opinion have a certain distrust these are the experts and their description of reality i think this is the reason why i have been invited to conduct this debate on the lack of trust and confidence on the part of the public opinion and indeed experts have actually made serious mistakes with reference to the brexit for instance and the referendum which led to the brexit it was uh conducted on the basis of a campaign whose most important slogan was we are fed up with experts all of them we were of course in favor of the remain and then the election of donald trump in the states and as you all know he is a populist leader to put it simply but in general he bases his politics on his own person on on himself and his personal slogan has always been believe me everything is focused around himself he never came up with a proper program with proper plans and all the proposals have always been difficult to implement to say the least there was only trump and trump himself and and every time there was a question could you please explain could you feel could you please dwell upon the problem the answer has always inevitably been believe in me so i mean we've been confronted with these problems for many many years i think again this is the reason why i have been asked to conduct with the debate with mrs mcshafiq who i mean talking about experts it's hard to believe that there's anyone more expert than herself she i think we can consider her like a super expert i mean she likes being called minus she has been the youngest deputy president of the world bank at age 36. she also worked at the international monetary fund until recently she was deputy governor of the bank of england so the most important financial institution or the third financial institution worldwide and currently she leads the she will soon be the director of the london school of economics and political science so needless to say we're dealing here with a super expert and a great honor and privilege having her here and a great honor to be able to discuss with her and as a super expert in recent months she asked herself why why what are the reasons behind this distrust lack of confidence with experts she wrote about the subject she spoke in public about this subject and she was able to come up with uh something that we are all aware as journalists that is part of the public opinion struggles find it difficult to remember what we had before in politics what europe was prior to the european union and then i mean we've been living in the european communion for 60 years 60 years of peace many people forgot what existed before and scientists and scholars have confronted also with the much longer life expectancies i mean life expectancies has grown by more than 20 years and per capita income multiplied by 20 times in recent years and this is a lot to do with predictions and forecast by experts and these forecasts have been truthful and effective in several fields including medicine technology etc but inevitably one also has to come to terms with the fact that experts to some extent are now locked up in their ivory tower and have found it difficult to explain most of the phenomena current phenomena sometimes they use unclear language hard to understand for people who are not experts who are not who cannot know as many things as they know and ended up with wrong predictions for instance think about the distrust vis-a-vis the bureaucracy and the red tape in brussels more europe less europe now i was invited to share this debate but i want to start a couple of things looking at my experience in the us a couple of weeks ago i was in the silicon valley for a series of conferences and at stanford i interviewed a politologist francis pogoyam who became quite popular 20 years ago owing to a book whose title was the end of history i interviewed him on trump and trump's politics he is an interesting uh scholar he followed the neocon movement and left the movement after the war in iraq and he is able to analyze in a balanced fashion what is going on in the world although he is a profoundly conservative and obviously he focused on the surprising decisions by trump politics about immigration but he drew my attention uh to the fact that trump's is not creating a significant government structure so he's improvising he is doing everything surrounded by a small group of people he trusts uh and in a system in which personal confidence is much more important that the general confidence of people in general uh the state department is not covered by competent people um he is neglecting some of the most important ministries and this scholars was telling me believe me a country within an elite without a good leadership is um destined to die and he reminded me that the the of the case of andrew jackson who became president in 1829 and similarly to trump said that you didn't need specific competencies to govern a country that the man of the street was good enough to govern and was honest enough and familiar with the true problems of the people to be able to govern a country and have government responsibilities and the consequence in in his opinion is that america was governed for about a century in an incompetent and corrupt fashion just to give you the idea that the problem is deeply failed in the united states but this is nothing to do with donald trump only donald trump continued something which had started much early earlier the the phenomenon of tea parties eight nine years ago was possibly the beginning or possibly even earlier than that and if you allow me i can describe this phenomenon by inviting you to visit a museum in the if you ever go to the united states if you go to kentucky to a small town on the border with ohio it's called petersburg there you can visit the museum of creationism and in that museum there's a movement who is in favor of the literal interpretation of the genesis and they created they set up a huge monument with a noah's arch bigger than 150 meters and they depict their theory whereby the world wasn't created millions of years ago and it's not true that there were dinosaurs which then were extinct they ex they state that on noah's ark they were dinosaurs and the dinosaurs only went extinct a few years ago because the world was created 6 000 years ago and then all the dragons of the medieval legends are actually the last dinosaurs to be to go extinct now this creationism this movement and this theory denying darwinism is becoming mainstream in many areas of the united states there are many schools and many states in america where creationism is actually taught it's part of the curricula it's a topic of discussion and was used to remove darwinism from school curricula i mean this phenomenon are growing in the american society over the years and obviously causing damage and havoc now leading to the situation whereby many scientific evidence are being denied and rejected having said this the floor is to miss this shafiq please i'm going to stand if that's all right i think you'll hear me better good morning everyone uh in many circles being introduced as a super expert might be taken as an insult but i'm going to take it as a compliment i i was an expert early in my career uh published academic papers i taught in a university i subjected myself to the rigors of of expert life but really for the last 20 years of my career i have been a mediator of expertise i've been someone who's managed experts who has uh taken the benefits of expert advice to shape policy decisions and now going to the london school of economics i'm going to be running a factory that produces experts because in the end that's what universities are and the reason i feel very strongly about this issue is that i have seen very close up the benefits of the wise application of expertise to public decisions and i've seen the costs of not doing so a good example of the costs are when tabo and becky in south africa refused to accept that hiv was caused by a virus and he believed it was he had read some paper which said that it was caused by malnutrition and poverty and he refused to fund uh antiretrovirals and treatment and as a result of his ignoring expert advice 300 000 people died in south africa unnecessarily and 35 000 babies were born in south africa with hiv that could have been prevented had they been treated in utero so that's a very good example of not of neglecting expert opinion and the cost thereof but i've also seen the huge benefits when the accumulation of expert knowledge is applied to policy making so all of us relative to 1950 will live 20 years more than people born then because of the application of better economic policies and better health advice and and and knowledge to our lives average world incomes today relative to 1950 are 20 times higher than they were then again because economic policy decision making has been has been improved over those decades but we're at a moment in history when the confidence and expertise is being challenged and i think that questioning has many reasons and i will talk a little bit about them the failure of experts in many domains uh the rise of populist politics and changes in technology and social media i think are the three biggest drivers and what i'd like to talk about this morning is why we need uh well i'd like to make the case for why we need even more and better experts in the future so that policy making is based on evidence and facts rather than on emotions and prejudice but to do that i think we need to reform several things we need to reform the way experts operate we need to reform how those who mediate expertise operate and i think there are also a set of changes that are important for us as citizens in the way we absorb expert knowledge and i'll say something about each of those i think these questions are incredibly vital at this time uh they're vital for for really the future of our democracies and our and the future of our own health given the theme of trento this year you know we elect politicians to make decisions for us so we delegate because we don't want to worry about you know how many tanks we need or what the level of the fiscal deficit should be so we elect politicians and we delegate decision making to them and then many the wiser ones then delegate some decisions to experts but in order to do that we need public consent to allow that delegation of decision making and i would argue that that delegation has resulted in many benefits think about the role of independent central banks for example where i i used to work in the 1970s many countries had huge problems with high rates of inflation and over time more and more political systems decided that they would delegate decisions about monetary policy to independent central banks and so by the by about the year 2000 80 percent of central banks around the world had some degree of independence and that independence has delivered lower and more stable inflation in most countries in the world who have some degree of central bank independence i think that was a very wise set of decisions but that's contingent on public consent for politicians to delegate that that decision making we have other such examples the independent panel for climate change for example a coalition of thousands of scientists around the world who synthesize scientific knowledge on climate change and politicians some politicians increasingly rely on the analysis of those independent scientists to make their decisions in the national health service in the uk we have an entity called nice the national institute for clinical excellence they're the ones who decide what the national health service will spend money on which treatments and which drugs will be paid for it makes those decisions based on world-class medical advice and rigorous cost-benefit analysis the alternative would be to have different lobbying groups lobbying politicians for their for their disease or for their drug and to have public money spent on the basis of political lobbying i prefer to have it done on the basis of medical research and independent cost benefit analysis but all of those decision making processes are legitimated by public consent and confidence in experts and if we lose that we lose the benefits of those processes so let me step back and try and analyze how did we get here what are the drivers of the current skepticism about experts and i'm going to argue that there's three first the rise of populist politics uh it's a global phenomenon it's well known in italy it's well known in in really every country in the uk in the us and it's quite common in history when you have a major economic crisis to have a populist backlash afterwards and i think that's part of what we are seeing today and with that populist backlash comes a distrust of elites and anti-intellectuals and all the consequences of that i think the second driver is technological change and here i think the rise of the internet and social media is a huge factor to some extent social media has disintermediated experts people now can rather than ask an expert ask google who needs experts when you can just go yourself and get the answers to your questions particularly for young people half of whom now get all of their news from social media this has become an especially important thing now i don't want to imply that this is a bad thing you know the spread of information through in the internet and social media has been a hugely democratizing force think of in the olden days when people subscribed to one local newspaper they were only getting one set of views now they have access to views from all over the world but at the same time there are many aspects of social media which are very dangerous the fact that there are algorithms that channel you to information that is consistent with your own views and create people live in their sort of own internet bubble the phenomenon of post-truth and also called alternative facts and the fact that lies and misinformation can spread just as quickly as good information the competition for clicks and the fact that sites that get more clicks are are considered more popular and so more extreme views tend to get showcased because they're the ones that people go to and the fact that this has complete that the phenomenon of social media has undermined the business models of journalists of good journalists who no longer have the resources or the money to do proper investigation and research uh because they can't compete with social media and no one is willing to pay for high quality information so all of those technological changes have changed the way people absorb information think about when you want to go to a restaurant in the olden days you would consult restaurant critics who were experts who made their living and you would we would read books and see which ones had the most michelin stars or whatever it was you you wanted to do these days you go to tripadvisor and you get the views of you thousands and thousands of your peers to decide where you want to go out to dinner so that is a very clear example of the internet disintermediating expert views but finally let me come to the third driver which is i think the failure of experts in many areas you know probably the most recent and most well-known example is the economic crisis in 2008 uh people felt that the system that was create the economic system that was created was a product of expert views terms like this is the great moderation we won't you know the end of boom and bust terms like that which made people think you constructed this system and then it came crashing down on our heads the eurozone crisis was a similar another chapter in that same story of erosion of confidence the eurozone seen as an expert elite project which suddenly didn't work the way it was promised but it's not just in economics that expert failure has uh has been a problem uh you know think about the lack of confidence in pollsters and and and polling think about climate deniers and the the views of people who want to deny climate change think about the debate about vaccines which i think is a is a very good example we had a as many of you probably know there was a famous article that was published in the lancet a very well respected medical journal which argued that there was a relationship between mmr vaccine and autism and as a result of that uptake of vaccines fell in many countries in the world including in italy in the uk vaccination rates were incredibly high and they fell to below 80 percent in 2005 we had a mum's epidemic in the uk and many thousands of children were ill in italy too there has been a dramatic drop in vaccination rates now this article in the lancet was written by someone who did not reveal that he was a paid advisor in a lawsuit which was going to court which was going to challenge the link between mmr vaccine and autism and the study was based on just 12 children and so the systems for expert control of allowing him to publish in a credible journal and get the publicity from that obviously broke down now since then the lancet has retracted the paper this particular doctor has been struck off and can no longer practice medicine but he continues to have a huge following on social media despite the fact that there is no evidence to support his views and the public health consequences of that distortion of expertise have been huge so i think those are the key drivers populist politics technological change in social media and examples of expert failure let me dig a little deeper as to how big a problem this is first i think it's important to acknowledge there are many aspects of life in which there's what i'll call quiet expertise where people have confidence and trust uh in many domains every time one of us gets into an airplane we have confidence that the air traffic controller is an expert and knows how to do his job same when we get into a car say when we go to our gp by and large in most domains of life there's continue to be high levels of trust in experts but there are many areas which are highly contested and those are the ones i'm talking about and they're rather important areas like climate change like economic policy like migration like health care like educational reform uh they're pretty big issues and there are very contested views there how big is the problem well i think it's interesting that the oxford dictionary uh called post-truth its word of the year in 2016 as the most important word that had emerged in that year and they defined post-truth as a situation in which public opinion is more determined by by emotions and personal views than by evidence i also think it's interesting to note that something called the edelman trust barometer which monitors levels of trust in many countries in the world in 2017 recorded the biggest drop in trust of any time in its recorded measurement and that was lack of trust in government business civil society and media and the drop in the media was was notably large in terms of the fall in trust i think trying to understand where some of this is happening also must must lie in the way that experts operate so if you think about how experts operate they tend to do quite a lot of what we call boundary work defining the boundary between who is an expert and who is not so to be an expert you have to have certain degrees you have to speak a certain language there's certain jargon associated with different types of expertise you have to publish in certain sorts of journals and they control who has access to those journals and who can publish experts also control the reproduction of experts and who is legitimated as another expert and experts also have certain practices uh to govern the quality of what they produce so for example principles that research should be independent research should be independent uh in the uk we have something called the haldane principle which says that the topics of research for academics should be chosen by academics and not by politicians we require independent peer review in most good journals you have to have two peer reviewers who are anonymous who criticize your work and judge whether it deserves to be published you have to reveal the sources of your funding you often have to publish your data so that other experts can reproduce your results and see if you've done the analysis properly so there's a whole infrastructure of how to become an expert and how to manage the quality of production of expertise and all of that i would argue is vital because all of that helps build confidence and credibility to the process but it also serves to exclude and that's a huge problem it excludes the general public from the production of expertise and from often from knowledge of it we did some work at the bank of england which looked at the linguistic complexity of our reports our main report something called the inflation report which we published every three months that document was so complex the language was so complex that only one in five people in the uk could understand it given the level of complexity of what was written that's a big problem i think the other problem in terms of the way experts operate is uh is is how they communicate so aristotle said to be a persuasive person to influence people you need three things you need ethos you need pathos and you need logos ethos is the credibility of a speaker pathos is the emotional connection with the audience logos is logic and facts and evidence now you could argue that someone like donald trump is all about ethos and pathos no logos right most experts are only comfortable in the world of logos right we do facts we do evidence but i think to be to be effective experts need to do a bit more ethos and pathos and sometimes they need help so often i think some of the best expert mediators are people who are very good storytellers i don't know if any of you are familiar with david attenborough who does the nature shows david attenborough who does these fantastic programs for the bbc has probably done more to raise awareness about the environment and conservation than any environmental scientist someone called uh michael lewis who has written a lot of books about the financial sector and recently made a movie called the big short the big short is an excellent explanation of why the financial crisis happened but it's also a very good movie lisa simpson if any of you ever seen the television american television program the simpsons is an environmental activist and has probably done more to raise awareness of climate change in the u.s than the ipcc i'm afraid um but good storytellers can help experts convey their messages more more clearly so let me turn to what needs to be reformed uh and what needs to change if we can move if we want to be in a world in which expert opinion is uh used to improve public life and i think changes need to occur at three levels the level of experts the level of those who mediate expertise and finally the level of citizens and politicians let me say something about each of those levels for experts i think experts need to maintain those really rigorous quality control standards that create boundaries around expertise so that not everyone who wants to express a view without any evidence or knowledge can publish in a respected journal for example i think those standards are vital for increasing and maintaining the trustworthiness of experts so keep the boundary work but and i also think some of that boundary work should be spread more widely so for example think tanks rarely say who is funding them they rarely publish their data same for the media why not expect higher standards of transparency and quality control among other sources of opinions and views second i think i think experts need to also embrace uncertainty um when when i was at the bank of england we would uh you know we would publish a forecast every quarter and the press would latch on to the headlines right so for the headline would be bank of england says economy will grow by two percent that's not actually what we said what we said was that if circumstances similar to today prevail in the future in 100 cases in 50 of them growth is likely to be above 2 and in 50 of them growth is likely to be below 2 and there's a range of probabilities around 2 which we reflect in a fan chart which is actually the forecast now no headline writer is going to write that right that's that's way too complicated but we didn't actually say the economy would grow at two percent and when the economy grows at 1.8 percent or 2.3 percent they come back and say you were wrong and i think experts need to resist and keep insisting on the uncertainty around our predictions uh and the uncertainty around our knowledge even though everything will press you to do the opposite to be to give false precision but in the long run it will build the credibility of experts to acknowledge that there are many things that are unknown finally i think the third thing for experts is that they need to communicate more clearly not to dumb down and not to talk down to the public but in my experience real experts people who really know what they're talking about can explain things in very simple and clear language uh and i think working uh working on that and working with good storytellers uh can mean that experts will be heard more often next let me turn to what others who mediate expertise need to do differently and here i think there are two things that need to happen first i think you need to you know we're never going to go back to the days when experts you know everybody trusts the newspapers and everybody trusts politicians those days are gone but what we need to do is give the public tools so that they can differentiate between good experts and bad politicians who are speaking sense and those who are speaking rubbish and there's some good examples of that authoritative websites for example you know like you i mean i every time if i get an illness or some symptom i go on google and i type in my symptoms and then i get thousands and thousands of websites which tell you a whole range of things as to what could be wrong with you very disconcerting and then i come to my senses and i go to the national health service website or i go to the national institutes for health website or i go to the center for disease control some authoritative source which has synthesized all of the expert opinion and best research and helps me figure out what i should do so authoritative websites and authoritative institutions are important fact checking also an increasingly important thing to check the the the probity of facts being used in political debate uh and i think fact-checking is going to become an increasingly important part of our lives and and we should be able to see uh which which things are have been correct or not codes of conduct and what we call kite marks where an organization or a piece of evidence is certified by some third party to verify yes this is fair trade coffee and it is certified by this association which verifies that you know or workers have been paid adequately in the factories so third-party verification is also helpful and then i think the other thing for mediators of expert is the role of social media and here i do think we are at an important transition point up until now platforms like facebook and google and others have said oh we're just platforms we're not publishers i don't think that's credible anymore i think they need to take greater responsibility for the content especially when that content is incendiary racist promotes terrorism promotes hatred uh or promotes false spread of false information now they are beginning to address this issue slowly uh and are relying increasingly say on fact checkers who can then they will label if uh stories have been found to be false by fact checkers but i do think much more is needed in this area and i think frankly if they don't do more on their own there is a very real risk that they will be regulated and i think germany is kind of taking the lead in some areas here uh i think other countries are waiting to see but i do think something has to happen now let me turn to citizens and politicians and what needs to change there i think clearly education has to respond to this new world there was a very interesting study done at stanford which looked at thousands of children in the united states from primary to university level to assess their digital literacy and their conclusion was that the situation was quote bleak they found that young people and here i'm including university students couldn't tell the difference between a real news story and an advertisement they could easily be tricked by a piece of data or a chart that in you know in the footnote said that the data came from a lobbying group and a political a political or a political party uh so their ability to to read social media and use good judgment around it was very very poor and we clearly need to make an investment not just for young people but for all of us in enhancing our ability to to to understand evidence now let me turn to citizens and politicians and here i think there's some very important issues around the boundaries between experts and politicians many of the problems that we've seen in recent years have been when experts try to be politicians or politicians try to be experts and my view is that boundary needs to be managed very carefully i've spent most of my career managing that boundary so when i was in the uk civil service we had a we had a principle that civil servants advise and ministers decide very clear you give your best advice as a civil servant but the minister is the one who's elected they've got the democratic mandate they're the ones who have to make the decision in when i was at the imf and the world bank for example the expert staff gave their best analysis and said this is what we think this country needs to do or this is what we think the state of the world economy is but then the board which represents 189 sovereign governments is the one to make political trade-offs the staff of the imf says greece needs debt relief the board says well maybe let's see if we can muddle through for another six months but that's for that they're they're the democratic uh authorities they're the ones who have the right to make that decision so i think in general oh and i should also say that i think universities have a very special role to play in this ecosystem because they are independent and they come with that academic freedom uh which means that they can be an independent voice in some of these debates around the boundaries and ultimately what i'm going to call technocracy the world of experts really only gets its legitimacy from democracy so you know macmillan once said you know we didn't overthrow the divine right of kings to bow before the divine right of experts uh so experts have to you know stay in their box so to speak uh and politicians kind of need to stay in theirs um and then finally i think this implies uh different things for citizens um you know i think as citizens we need to demand evidence when we have politicians or the media transmitting things that we think are absolute rubbish we should say that and we should demand the evidence and we should engage with the debate uh and in that sense events like trento are so vital for engaging citizens in public debate on the most important issues of the day this is an importantly incredibly important pillar of democracy and congratulations to tito and the organizers of trento and to all of you for being here uh because this is exactly the sort of event which brings experts and the public the informed public together to get a better understanding of the issues that affect all of us so that would be my pitch for uh for how things need to change i do think it's absolutely vital that we that we that we embrace this agenda because if we don't the future looks rather scary and bleak and it doesn't have to be thank you very much so i anticipated minutia presentation was extremely to the point exhaustive and elegant at the same time she was very effective in raising some delicate issues including the way experts behave she also mentioned and stressed that the issues related to the media the mass media my world being a journalist myself and the limited ability of journalists of being good storytellers and she also mentioned the terrible phenomenon of fake news and the way the reality is manipulated and this is due to a number of factors um starting from social networks as a minutiae said because journalists and experts in other fields they have lost their authoritativeness uh because of social media now the main popular institutions are the social media and all of this is the result partially of the new waves of populism that have reason as mentioned and to the polarization of communication that as minutiae clearly said is due to the fact that extreme positions are the most clicked uh the most effective in terms of communication and all but also the most rewarding in terms of returns generated by advertising and this has led to a society that is made up of tribes so when you belong to a tribe you fail to be critical in your opinion you find it difficult to look at differences and try and understand them and we all tend to become entrenched in our own views and technology has contributed to all of this is just not information that is provided to us by the network by the internet through algorithm that understand who we are and therefore channel the type of information that is most suitable for you the same applies to everything to music for instance music we are provided with playlists that are again customized to us to our specific requirements and desires but before leaving the floor to the audience i would like to ask a question to menus don't you think that this may lead to a loss of memory and do you think well first of all i recently had the opportunity to read alarming data i know that polls are not really reliable especially pre-electoral polls are not reliable but what i was very much impressed by was that when asked the question to what extent is it important for you to live in the country ruled on the grounds of democratic principles they interviewed answered very important uh 70 percent of them were above 40 years of age among the youngsters at this percentage goes down to 40 percent this i believe is due to the fact that people who have not experienced the world wars and have not experienced the iron curtain and have no idea what it means and not having freedom and not being granted freedom well in the united states in particular where people tend not to travel around the world so these people have no idea of what it means a living without a democracy and going back to what we said about the vaccines and when i realized that a lot of people also here in italy have doubts about the usefulness of vaccines well at my age since i grew up at times when there were people in my neighborhood or in my school who were suffering from polio who had to walk with the cane or crutches and who have almost disappeared today well i'm surprised to see that there are people who have forgotten completely about this and who are discussing about vaccines as as if it were just a philosophical speculation and not a real issue so so going back to my question don't you think that losing memories uh is a a major threat and if there is a way to recover such memory because storytelling is certainly a tool an effective tool but again storytelling by journalists is not really very effective people are interested in big titles you know which sometimes do not necessarily correspond to facts and so what do you think about it well no i think clearly the knowledge of history is hugely important and you know there's that cliche about you know those who don't know history are condemned to repeat it but i prefer mark twain who said history doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes uh and you know teaching people about the risks to democracy from the citizenry not being engaged is is hugely important at this time uh and something i think we shouldn't take for granted i was at an event last week in the historian simon sharma who currently lives in the united states is so horrified and he said you know the problem is in america nobody nobody has time to save democracy and be good citizens because they're all too busy shopping so that was that i think is the danger we face all right then we can therefore start the q a session if there are questions from the audience please go ahead thanks it's a very important topic two points first to be a little bit more specific we had um recently especially in the uk but not only in the uk all this this debate about expertise was really about brexit uh and the consequences of it and i i'd like to to to hear your view on what went went wrong to me there were two failures on the part of experts one was aggregation they looked at problems questions on the aggregate without the sufficient degree of granularity to understand what's happened for for particular people in particular places and second there was a sort of bias because most experts considered and in the expert community it was very clear that they all considered that brexit was a bad idea and this was interpreted in a way by us as capture instead of of being a sort of truth uh so that's one one point i wanted to make the the other question is on what you said on education the paradox uh that the the distrust for expertise goes hand in hand with the increase in the level of overall education so the question is what type of education we need uh to to to help uh people navigate uh with information and i think you said but it's extremely important it needs to be a much more education to the forming of the critical mind and that's what's missing in many other educational systems the fact the example you gave is just that the the school doesn't educate into being able to to sort of distinguish truth from from from false information and i think that's a sort of fundamental change in the way we conceive education english is a student so uh so jean yes i i mean good point first on on brexit i mean i think um i take your points i think for me also a critical difference uh was you know going back to aristotle the remain campaign was all about logos it was all economic data forecasts of how much people would lose under under brexit and so on the leave campaign was all about pathos it was all about getting our sovereignty back migration is a threat and i think people responded more to the pathos than the logos so i think that was a big part of the story and i also think that uh the post you know this kind of post-truth abuse of facts was not called out quickly enough so there was a critical number in the brexit debate which was used which was that if uh if we leave the european union we will save 350 million pounds a week and that money will go we'll go to the national health service and all the campaign buses for the brexit and leave campaign had this 350 million pound number on painted on the buses very now that number was completely false first of all it wasn't it was a gross number not a net number it wasn't actually accurate and since the vote they have now backed away and said oh terribly sorry we're not going to spend 350 million more a week on the national health service so it was a completely false number but nobody called them on it for weeks and weeks until finally the uk national statistician came out and said this is not this is a false number now part of the problem was that you could only figure out it was a false number if you looked at annex something of the national accounts of the uh in the pink book published by the office for national it was buried somewhere in some official publication i think experts need to be more on the ball of calling out false information when when it's out there and then on education i think education is a huge part of this story and um i think it's interesting to note that support for populist politicians is highest among the least educated and that is true if you look at who voted in the u.s elections it's true if you look at most of the european elections education is a big part of the story uh in terms of where people turn to for political uh for their with their votes and education the nature of education so just the level of education will help but also the the nature of education i think you know teaching teaching facts to young people today when all of them can just go to google and find out what the capital of so-and-so is or you know what x times y is is a waste of time uh what we need to teach young people today is critical thinking and analytical skills and learning how to learn knowing how to collect information and judge its quality and i think our educational systems are in at a point in which that change has to be quite profound and starting at a very young age too much time is spent in a classroom having children memorize facts which they could look up instantaneously on the internet and that's a missed opportunity and will certainly help with making them better citizens if we teach them more critical thinking now i actually have another question for minutes but maybe there are more questions from the audience from the floor now let me ask a question then because mr shafiq talked about the exaggerations of the press of the media in reporting scientific evidence but sometimes i think something different took place in the world of science let's talk about the environment for a moment we know that unfortunately yesterday trump and the united states decided to leave the paris agreements on climate change i mean causing great scandal on the part of the um scandalizing the rest of the the countries of the world and disconcerting most of the scientists but trump took his decision to leave the paris agreement after years of years of development of anti-environmentalist thought in the conservatives americans and looking at data which to some extent were provided by scientists exaggerating their figures and sometimes they even admitted that they had provided figures which were not entirely reliable so maybe scientists did make mistakes every now and then not providing truthful truthful evidence not providing uh truthful figures okay the the the example of vaccines was uh mentioned here but also sometimes scientists tend to present reality in ways which is more appealing to the public opinion which again is a mistake i mean i think that's why maintaining the standards of rigor around scientific evidence is really important and i think um you know and i think there's a big debate in science there was a fantastic event last month called the march for science i don't know if any of you followed it in 600 cities around the world scientists demonstrated to defend the principles of science and they had i think what's probably the nerdiest chant of any demonstration i have ever seen so there are all these scientists you know looking very sciencey-like shouting what do we want evidence-based policy when do we want it only after peer review which you know is is not a very common uh demonstration chant for uh for for for that situation but you know i think they are right that we have they have to maintain their standards because when people slip and publish things that are of poor quality and don't have the evidence base they undermine the credibility of all science uh and i think that's why i think the boundary work that experts use needs to be maintained but that doesn't mean that the boundaries are not permeable that you don't that you're not able to communicate with the public um but i think people who are who are poor quality researchers and scientists need to be exposed to unless there are other questions from the audience may i thank you all very warmly for your for being here and for for your attention thank you very much you