The Technology Trap: Where Human Error and Malevolence Meet Powerful Technologies

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Most of us assume that those in charge can always find a way to control any technology mankind creates, no matter how powerful. But in a world of imperfect human beings who are prone to error, emotion, and sometimes to malevolent behavior, this could be an arrogant—and disastrous—assumption.

This book is filled with compelling, factual stories that illustrate how easy it is for situations to go terribly wrong, despite our best efforts to prevent any issue. The author is not advocating an anti-technology "return to nature," nor intending to highlight the marvels of our high-tech world. Instead, the objective is to reveal the potential for disaster that surrounds us in our modern world, elucidate how we arrived at this predicament, explain the nature and ubiquity of human fallibility, expose why proposed "solutions" to these Achilles heels cannot work, and suggest alternatives that could thwart human-induced technological disasters.

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Editorial Reviews

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"Recommended. Public and academic undergraduate library collections."



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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313378881
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/2/2010
  • Pages: 394
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables


Part I Threatening Ourselves 1

1 Human Fallibility and the Proliferation of Dangerous Technologies 3

2 Dangerous Technologies and the Terrorist Threat 29

Part II What Could Go Wrong? 69

3 Losing Control (of Dangerous Materials) 71

4 Accidents Do Happen 103

Appendix Tables: Major Accidents Related to Weapons of Mass Destruction 123

5 Accidental War with Weapons of Mass Destruction 145

Part III Why It Can Happen Here: Understanding the Human Factor 173

6 Substance Abuse and Mental Illness 175

7 The Character of Work; the Conditions of Life 205

Part IV "Solutions" That Do Not Work 225

8 Seeking Safety in Numbers: The Reliability of Groups 227

9 Making Technology Foolproof 259

10 Computers Instead of People 291

Part V Finding Solutions That Do Work 321

11 Judging Risk 323

12 Escaping the Trap: Four Steps for Preventing Disaster 349

Index 383

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