Crisis Management: Some Opportunities

Science  07 Feb 1975:
Vol. 187, Issue 4175, pp. 404-410
DOI: 10.1126/science.187.4175.404


Modern crises present decision makers with many agonizing management choices. Very often a crisis manager is confronted with a plethora of conflicting information and given very little time to choose an appropriate course of action. Although contemporary methods of systems analysis have been used in attempts to organize data and clarify options, they have generally been of little use in presenting an accurate picture of an opponent's values and perceptions. Thus it is clear that we must now make use of the improved communications and technological devices at our disposal if crises are to be avoided or resolved with minimum damage.

Our proposal to establish international model-oriented computer-assisted conferences is designed to promote greater cooperation and understanding among scientists and crisis managers of differing nations by enabling them to share images of themselves and one another. With better information and more rational options available, the chances of catastrophic misunderstanding or miscalculation can be meaningfully reduced. We have proposed a possible scenario for the initial implementation of such a system to combat famine, and hope that the same approach might be used in other areas over time. The ultimate goal is a system by which specialists of all persuasions cooperate so that international crises will be resolved on the bases of mutual benefits without resort to armed conflict.