MORE IDEAS FROM When Safety Proves Dangerous
Risk protection is normally done to minimize the harm a particular activity can do to us. There are various things we do to reduce our risk, to make ourselves safer.
Behaviour scientists point out that taking measures to reduce the harm we can do to ourselves, can actually make us take more risks, with the added knowledge that there is a safety check in place. This is known as Risk Compensation.
If something has been made safer (like fitting sports bikes with disk brakes) then it does not mean the risk has been eliminated, as it may just put a different group of people (like pedestrians) in increased danger. This is known as Risk Transfer.
This means that enforcing measures that supposedly make people safer, will lead to changes in behaviour almost like a reflex action, compensating for the extra safety and to maintain the ‘desired’ level of risk, making it a zero-sum action.
Having a safety device in place, and armed with the knowledge that we can push the envelope a bit, the appetite for risk increases.
Most people overlook the effect that people have when someone is observing them. There is a difference in the behaviour of people, animals and atoms when they are being observed.
Though it is not a universal effect, observing living things does change them, and in the case of atoms, it can result in unpredictable behaviour.
In many ways, technology improves and enriches our lives. Yet, there is a sense that we have lost control of our technology in some ways and end up victims of its unintended consequences.
Author Edward Tenner coined the term "revenge effects" to describe how technologies can solve one problem while creating other worse problems, new types of issues, or shifting the harm elsewhere. In other words, technology bites back.
While looking for solutions and answers, we find that an individual provides a different answer than a group of people. Wisdom of the crowd is often considered better, as an individual might be biased, manipulated or have some ulterior motive. Depending on the problem, the wisdom of the crowd may be inferior to the individual.
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