In Humankind you will be forced with making decisions that will affect the entirety of your empire. These are called Civics and they represent societal matters that can change an empire's character and ideology.
Civics are first unlocked once the player reaches the Ancient Era, though no choices may be present at the time. A set of conditions must first be met before the player can enact Civics. Each one will offer the player a choice that will swing their ideology one way or not in any category as well as potentially applying an effect on their cities.
Related: How to get Fame in Humankind
Sometimes the player may unlock new content depending upon their choice. To enact a Civic, the player must spend some of their Influence. The player can also spend Influence to cancel a particular Civic. The more Civics the player enacts the more expensive later Civics will become.
Balancing your Influence and Civics is important as Civic Backlash can occur. This is when another empire is influencing your territory and the population requests their leader to adapt to this influence and take a similar stance on any given Civic. Should the player refuse the population's demands, they can face dissatisfaction and a loss of stability.