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  • Driverless Cars and the Trolley Problem

    The “Trolley Problem” is a long pondered ethical thought experiment; it is an intellectual exercise devised to highlight the moral conflicts that can arise in the making of decisions involving inescapable loss of life. Here is how Wikipedia presents it: “A runaway trolley is barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up …

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  • The Pathway to Driverless Cars and the Sacred Cow Problem

    The Pathway to Driverless Cars and the Sacred Cow Problem Last Thursday (April 27, 2017) I was one of two speakers invited to lead the discussion at a National Infrastructure Commission roundtable on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. The first speaker discussed the “Readiness of the road network for connected and autonomous vehicles”. My presentation was …

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  • Driverless cars and the sacred cow problem

    The promoters of driverless cars have demonstrated remarkable progress in their ability to program their vehicles to respond with extreme deference to pedestrians, cyclists, and cars with human drivers. Such programming confers sacred cow status on all road users not in self-driving vehicles. The developers of autonomous vehicles acknowledge the need for new road safety …

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  • Risk and Culture

    Risk, most dictionaries agree, involves exposure to the possibility of loss or injury. Perceptions of this possibility are embedded in culture and vary enormously over space and time. One frequently encounters the contention that it is important to distinguish between “real”, “actual”, “objective” risks and those that are merely “perceived”. But all risk is perceived. Risk …

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  • Cycling and Safety: change must take root in people’s minds

      Last March I took part in a conference devoted to the promotion of cycling in Madrid. My presentation, in essay form, has now been published by World Transport: Policy and Practice. Herewith the abstract – This essay is a response to an invitation to provide an overview of the current state of cycling in …

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  • A bargain

    From time to time I check on Amazon to see if anyone is buying my 1985 thriller Risk and Freedom – not many. But views about its value vary widely. The act of reading it, and transforming it into a “used” book, apparently increases its value enormously – I would like to think so..   1 Comment Risk …

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  • Global Warming: a debate re-visited.

    I have posted a near final draft of what became chapter 9 of my book Risk, published in 1995. The process of writing it transformed me from a firm believer in man-made global warming into a climate change agnostic – a position to which I still adhere. In 1995 it seemed  to me that most …

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  • ISO 31000: an update

    For those new to ISO 31000  – Risk management – Principles and Guidelines – published by the International Standards Organization – my profoundly negative view of it can be found in earlier postings . ISO 31000 has spawned, at the moment of writing, 2.9 million Google hits. I cannot say that none of them addresses …

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  • A prize!!

    This is a graphic record of the event. Jeremy Harrison, the head of the Institute of Risk Management, is laughing because I have just called him a sneaky bastard for inviting me to dinner without warning me that he had this in mind. And I am looking bemused because I was – and still am. …

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  • Been there. Got the T-shirt.

    Yesterday was Risk Day in Birmingham’s Town Hall with numerous events and speakers focused on the theme. My contribution was rewarded with a conference T-shirt.   I suggested that since The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has its headquarters in Birmingham they might like to come over to take part in a discussion …

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