It was October 1983 when a group of stakeholders got into a Chrysler car in Chicago to make a phone call to the great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell. Such an epic moment was the introduction to what was then called the “car phone.” Though it is now the car phone no more, and with texting it’s not necessarily even a phone, we can’t miss that great efforts are underway to get us to pledge our cars as the no-phone-zone. And why shouldn’t we talk or text and drive? Well, because “multi-tasking is usually a bad idea.” This according to Joe Hallinan, an award winning journalist who wrote the book, “Why we make Mistakes.”
Hallinan accuses us of making the same mistakes over and over because we humans are ignorant and overconfident. We put too much detergent in our laundry which is bad for the machine and the dirty laundry. “Over-pouring” fades colors and adds more dirt to our dirty clothes. But we never learn from our overpouring mistakes and now we’re living with dirty, stained and faded clothes. Plus we’re mistakenly allowing hacker access. A list of 32 million passwords revealed the most common to be 123456 and second most to be 12345.
We fail to recognize inherent biases in such areas as refereeing sports. In hockey, the teams with black jerseys accrue more fouls. In soccer the taller player gets the penalty. In the NBA there is positive own-race bias and negative other-race bias among referees. All of which creates mistaken penalties and angry players. Most recently, while full body scanners are the hot new topic in airport security, Hallinan thinks they won’t make us safer because humans viewing the scanners will fail to detect objects they don’t often see. We humans have such design flaws. Hallinan doesn’t say whether this means we’re not as intelligently designed as we once thought.
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