Friday, November 15, 2013

Insufficient controllability

"Insufficient controllability"... it just rolls out when you say it. And, it's one definition of risk*. A related malady is: "autonomy", as in autonomous machines achieved with (gasp!) autonomous software.

Critical Uncertainies (Matthew Squair) brings us these gems in a posting about machine autonomy.
Squair tells us:
From this perspective the approach of the authors to risk can be seen as a reflection of our human fear of loss of control. The greater the autonomy of automation the greater our perception of risk. Thus a loss of control to something as intangible as a software program is always going to be perceived as a risk

It seems reasonable when you think about it. Perhaps "insufficient controllability" belongs on the long list of cognitive biases that inform risk attitude. It certainly explains "control freak" management styles!

* Brun, W., Risk perception: Main issues, approached and findings. In G. Wright and P. Ayton (Eds.), Subjective probability (pp. 395-420). Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 1994.

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