"It's a risky life"

A series that help you make decisions involving risk from a mathematical perspective

  • It’s a risky life! is a series of videos available on YouTube that will explain concepts of probability and uncertainty, decision-making under conditions of risk and the role of insurance. 
  •  The tone is informative and entertaining, the content is aimed at everyone and sets challenges with a prize to be won at the end.
  •  The initiative is spearheaded by AXA Research Fund in collaboration with the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (CSIC-ICMAT) and the Fundación General CSIC.

Everyone has trouble making decisions; more so when confronted with a situation involving some level of risk. In such cases, intuition is not always the best tool. But mathematics IS. It's a risky life! is a series of videos that take a humorous look at essential mathematical concepts associated with risk and its influence on modern society. They will explain the notion of risk in our day-to-day lives in an informative and entertaining way, covering topics such as security, decision-making, uncertainty and risk aversion.

This project, spearheaded by AXA Research Fund, the AXA Group's global scientific philanthropy initiative, directed by Filmociencia and produced by the ICMAT communication unit, is part of the AXA Permanent Chair in Adverse Risk Analysis, which is structured around a collaboration between CISC (higher council for scientific research), ICMAT and the Fundación General CSIC. The videos are presented by the Chair holder, Professor David Ríos, a researcher at ICMAT and a permanent academician at the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences.

Serious content presented in an entertaining way

Problems with nuclear energy, climate change, financial crises, cybersecurity and terrorism are some of the threats of modern times that create risky situations in which decision-making is very important. Mathematics plays a fundamental role in helping us make the right choices. However, not everyone understands the underlying concepts or their relevance to everyday life. In It's a risky life! they are presented in a fun way that anyone can understand.

“The aim of the videos is to inform the viewer, in an entertaining but serious way, about some important mathematical concepts related to risk that are also relevant to everyday life”, explains Ríos. In It's a risky life! he explores the notion of risk, decision-making, uncertainty, probability and utility, and how it can be modelled”.

They will also talk about the role of insurance, a service that all citizens know about but not everyone understands. “If someone realises that they have risks and needs to manage them, there are several ways to reduce the likelihood of the threat being played out and/or its impact. One way is to transfer part of the risk to an insurance company”, says the researcher. “It’s important to know about the phenomena associated with risk because they are all around us, and yet they are not always well understood. With the concepts explained in the videos, you can learn to make better decisions”, adds Ríos.

There will be eight videos each lasting around two minutes, one published approximately every three weeks, with both Spanish and English versions. The first can already be viewed on the ICMAT, AXA Research Fund and AXA España YouTube channels.

Solve a challenge

As well as making people think, this initiative rewards them for taking part. At the end of each video, a challenge addressing the misconceptions about the perception of risk is proposed. The participant with the most correct answers at the end of the series can win an Aisoy programmable social robot.

To keep track of subsequent challenges, each time a video is released it will be announced on social media, namely the ICMAT and AXA Twitter accounts (@_ICMAT and @AXAsegurosEs) using the hashtag #itsariskylife.