Explore BrainMass

Technological disasters like Y2K

This content was STOLEN from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!

Review the five categories of technological disasters. give real life examples, of how on a smaller scale each of these categories of disasters might occur and affect any sort of business project.

What would be root causes of technological disasters. Give examples of potential threats that might stem from each of these root causes.

What are the key differences between technological and natural disasters? Pick up real life examples of the two and prepare a summary on this topic.

Text: Minding the Machines, preventing technological disasters by William M. Evan and Mark Mansion

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com December 19, 2018, 10:48 pm ad1c9bdddf

Solution Preview

A complete blueprint for preventing technological disasters in the 21st century.
Why do technological disasters occur, and how can we prevent them? How do we design technological systems that enhance human life rather than imperil it? How do we live with the technology we have created?
In Minding the Machines, William M. Evan and Mark Manion offer a systematic and provocative guide to preventing technological disasters. They reveal the hidden patterns and commonalities beneath more than 30 of the worst technological tragedies of recent history?and identify powerful preventive measures that address every key area of risk.
Minding the Machines throws light on:
? Technological disasters: theories and root causes From systems theory to terrorism and counter-terrorism measures
? Strategic responses to key risk factors Attacking the four key causes of disaster
? Technical design failures?and the organizational failures connected to them How communications failures lead to system failures, and what to do about it
? Socio-cultural failures: the lessons of Bhopal Two comparable Union Carbide plants: one safe in West Virginia, one murderous in India
? The responsibilities of institutions, the responsibilities of individuals What corporate managers, engineers, scientists, and government officials can do
? Participatory technology: the central role of the citizen Why citizens must play a far more active part in decisions about technology
In Minding the Machines, two leading experts in technological risk assessment analyze more than 30 disasters?from the Titanic sinking to Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Challenger shuttle disaster to Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, the Love Canal toxic waste contamination to Bhopal poison gas release. They present lessons learned and preventive strategies for all four leading causes of technological disasters: technical design factors, human factors, organizational systems factors, and socio-cultural factors. They also identify appropriate roles for every participant in technological systems?from corporations to regulators, engineering schools to individual citizens.
Technological disasters can kill thousands, and destroy the organizations in which they occur. In recent decades, much has been discovered about the causes and prevention of technological disasters, but many organizations have not learned the lessons or implemented appropriate preventive strategies.


"Minding the Machines: Preventing Technological Disasters"

Part one is an introduction. It is ironic, both in terms of the title of the chapter; "Technological Disasters: an Overview"; and particularly the title of the book, that although the authors list four categories of disaster causes, the examples given overwhelmingly indicate human error, if not outright malfeasance. The classifications provided are also confusing: what difference is there between human, organizational, and socio-cultural factors? The comparison of natural and man-made disasters, and the supporting tables, in chapter two raise more questions than they answer: why are both types increasing at almost identical rates (in glaring contrast to the stated conclusion)?

Part two looks at the prevalence of technological disasters. (I thought we just did that?) Chapter three says nothing new about Y2K. The theories of technological disasters, in chapter four, are flawed by an overly simplistic view of systems, one which completely ignores the inherent tendency of complex systems in general, and digital systems in particular, to catastrophic failure modes. As noted, the book is heavily larded with tables and figures, most of which have little apparent relevance to the text, and some of which actually seem to contradict the written material. One example in this chapter points out that the figures are, themselves, unexplained and poorly captioned: a diagram with six numbered interrelationships is followed by a numbered list--for a completely different set of factors. In chapter five the authors set up an odd, and poorly explained, matrix of "systemic dimensions" underlying disasters. "Human Factors Factors" (sic) are technological (as opposed to social) systems and external (as opposed to internal) systemic factors. The reporting of details in the examples in this and other chapters is suspect: despite specific and itemized accounts of the Therac 25 tragedy in at least two of the references listed for this chapter, the authors insist that somehow the type of radiation ...

Solution Summary

Over 2800 words discussing technological disasters including numerous references.