Complexity is a constant challenge for science, politics and society: for science as the field of complexity research, in which complex systems are studied in the context of physics, biology, climate research or virology; for politics as the challenge of casting complex interrelationships into concrete policies that find democratic majorities; for society as the everyday difficulty of aligning one’s personal behaviour with the complexity of the environment. However, complexity becomes particularly challenging in those areas where all three forms of complexity come together.

The aim of the inter- and transdisciplinary research project AI NAVI is to explore the central aspect of social complexity, decision-making in the social realm, in dealing with complex systems such as the climate or pandemics under the influence of AI systems. In doing so, the complexity competence will be investigated as well as the possibilities for mastering complexity through AI applications, to develop strategies for a successful AI-supported, participatory and emancipatory handling of complex social challenges.


What is complexity

Complexity is a word that has been heard more and more in recent years. When it comes to characterising populism or conspiracy theories, for example,

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Systems Aikido

Alex Penn’s talk  at TEDxSouthamptonUniversity, a self-organized TED event at the university of southhampton in 2013, about Systems Aikido as a philosophy for engineering complex systems. 

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Case studies of AI NAVI

Germany UK US Australia
HDI[1] 0.947 (very high) 0.932 (very high) 0.926 (very high) 0.944 (very high)
CCPI[2] 56.39 (medium) 69.66 (high) 19.75 (very low) 28.82 (very low)
Greenhouse gas emissions per capita[3] 9.72 t 6.80 t 18.44 t 24.63 t
Covid infections per 100,000 inhabitants[4] 4,910 10,800 12,430 293

[1] Human Development Index 2021 (figures for 2020)

[2] Climate Change Performance Index 2021

[3] Figures for 2018 based on (Ritchie & Roser, 2020)

[4] Based on official figures by the Johns Hopkins University September 13th, 2021

Case studies

The project includes four case studies or respectively one case study in four countries, i.e. Germany, the US, the UK, and Australia. These case studies are intended to provide a background for the study of the research objectives and a specific behavioural domain for the experimentation and empirical research. They were chosen because of their similarity in standard of living, which promises to find common behavioural patterns or lifestyles, and their dissimilarity in terms of their reaction to climate change and the Covid19-pandemic. This may provide the opportunity to detect cultural components of the behavioural domain and the associated decision-making.

» Learn more about the case studies.

Principal investigators of AI NAVI

University Mainz

Prof. Dr. Petra Ahrweiler

Technology & Innovation Sociology / Social Simulations Lab


Prof. Dr. Paul Lukowicz

Embedded Systems


University of Surrey

Dr. Alex Penn

Center for Research in Social Simulation


University Gießen

PD Dr. Kai Hamburger

Allgemeine Psychologie und Kognitionsforschung

Arizona State University

Prof. Dr. Erik Johnston

School for the Future of Innovation in Society and School for Complex Adaptive Systems

planning grant funded by 

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