Originally posted on September 17, 2022 @ 2:19 PM
The myth of certainty proposes that life is knowable, predictable and manageable. Such certainty is not real but is believed and made true symbolically. This is what is observed in the use of the symbol of zero, the belief in the absolute and infinity, applied to fallible humans? The language of ‘observance’ is linguistically connected to worship, ritual and custom. The ideology of zero is promotes religious observance in the impossible.
The denial of morality, vulnerability and human transience is a mental health disorder. I wrote recently about the Denial of Death and the many silences in safety. We can tell much about this industry by simple analysis of discourse: what is it noisy about and where is it silent?
Just analyse the language in any organisation espousing zero and look for person-centric language and the acceptance of uncertainty. Then when things go wrong, search for what moral language follows (https://safetyrisk.net/essentials-in-ethics-for-safety/). Faith in zero unfortunately, disables a focus on skills and a disposition needed to cope and respond humanly for when things go wrong. Zero mitigates the need for resilience.
Kay and King’s book on Radical Uncertainty is a comforting book (https://safetyrisk.net/radical-uncertainty/. It helps one live in the present with meaning. Fear of uncertainty fosters anxiety about the unknown and limits necessary risk needed to live life. The fear of risk is the fear of learning.
Denial of uncertainty fosters faith in a myth and creates ‘faith’ in systems, ideas and matter, as-if the future is known and predictable. Safety loves the language of prediction. Just observe the language of ‘predictive analytics’ and it’s like reading a religious text on faith, promise and hope.
Observe any website selling prediction or zero and look at the language used (and not used) to ‘sell’ the product.
Of course, the hidden text is all language about prediction is the surveillance of persons and the myth of behaviourism (https://safetyrisk.net/spor-and-the-bbs-myth/ ).
There is no prediction of human decision making, such an assertion is mythology. Indeed, trusting and having ‘faith’ in such a system is dangerous. Such faith is no different than faith in fairies. Faith is faith. Faith is ‘trust in something hoped for and assurance of something without evidence’.
What we observe in faith in the AI, STEM and technology the ‘promises’ ‘predictive analytics’ we observe a diminishing focus on persons, skill in engagement, conversations and listening. The by-product of surveillance is brutalism, the cousin of BBS.
Just observe the language in the mythology of this: Safety Risk Predictive Analytics to improve safety performance
The first thing we notice is the language of ‘performance’, a giveaway for behaviourism to follow and, neatly packaged under the metaphor of ‘heart of it’. You already know that this is safety code (https://safetyrisk.net/deciphering-safety-code/) for having no heart for persons who will be brutalised by the methods to follow. Yet, we are going to ‘help’ you with safety challenges by ensuring there will be no ethic of ‘helping’.
‘By combining powerful statistical methods across multiple disparate data sources, organisations are able to understand the drivers of workplace accidents that were previously unseen.’
If ever there was a faith statement there it is. Here we have ‘methods’ from data that can make the unseen seen. Wow! Who wouldn’t want a ‘method’ that makes the invisible and unconscious, visible and conscious. This, in complete deniability of any research in neuroscience! (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-and-non-neuroscience/). Observe the language: ‘metrics, factors, indicators, technical, behavioural, commercial’. Even though the word ‘help’ is used several times, none of this is about helping. This is how safety code works.
‘Traditional analysis focuses on what has already occurred – predictive modelling techniques used in Safety Risk Predictive Analytics can help identify high risk predictors of incidents before incidents occur, allowing companies to put strategies in place that focus on prevention.’
So (in translation), Hindsight Bias creates prediction to see things before they occur. Just think about the logic of such a statement for a second. So, where are we going to find knowledge for the future? Oh yeah that’s right, in data from the past that demonstrates that we can’t predict the future. You couldn’t make this S&*t up.
Can you imagine what these promised strategies are? You bet, BBS (https://safetyrisk.net/spor-and-the-bbs-myth/ ).
All of this language of prediction is in denial of the very meaning of the word ‘risk’. If you can predict, then risk has been eliminated. The reason why we use the word ‘risk’ is because we don’t know. Such is the reality of fallibility (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/fallibility-risk-living-uncertainty/), that ‘f’ word that Safety never speaks.
Certainty is a myth. I wonder if these programs and ‘methods’ also sell insurance?
Brent Charlton says
The myth of prediction and certainty nearly cost me my job because I didn’t foresee a major incident.
Rob long says
All the billions in the world who believe in prayer know there is no fore-see-ability.
And the insurance industry.
Yes, but don’t worry, safety knows all.