Averting Disasters, Preventing Problems

[Publisher Link]  [Local Copy]
Boyden, E. S. (2008) "Averting Disasters, Preventing Problems." Ed Boyden's Blog. Technology Review. 9/2/08. (http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/boyden/22122/).

We are terrible at solving future problems before they become big. A friend of mine who worked for decades as a governmental security advisor was once told by an official, "Unless there are bodies on the ground, we can't pay attention to it." This property of the human mind affects us at the personal, community, and global levels, whether it's dealing with diet and exercise and debt, or the future of Social Security, or global climate change--all scenarios where people must invest effort now, to solve a problem that won't hit until some time passes. Now, it's one thing to complain about how bad we are at this problem (as psychologists have been gleefully pointing out for many years). But can we do anything about it? Can we engineer new tools to enhance our judgment, and to augment our ability to objectively deal with problems? ...