February 22, 2008

A prosthetic that alerts us to the real dangers in life

Humans tend to have an extremely distorted view of risks. We tend to be bothered by low probability but high profile threats, while often completely oblivious to those risks that could actually harm us. Check out this chart:

According to artist Susanna Hertrich, this is because humans have lost their natural instinct for sensing genuine dangers. Her solution? A prosthetic device for lost instincts that literally makes your hair stand on end.

She calls it the Alertness Enhancing Device. It's an art-piece, thesis, and human enhancement device that stimulates goosebumps and shivers that go down your spine and make your neck hair stand up, "waking up the alert animal inside." According to Hertrich, the AED helps you become more alert and ready for the real dangers in life. More here.


Nato Welch said...

That's a great visualization. Where is it from?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it would be easier just to take all media coverage for what it is..........hype.

George said...

Hey Nato -- the visualization came from the presentation itself; just follow the links.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, I've been wrestling with a thought for a while. I've been hesitant to comment on or join any transhuman groups or blogs. My main thought behind this uneasiness was the lingering idea that any sufficiently powerful organization who would want to control or stop a singularity type event could easily target forward thinkers like ourselves who are aware of these possibilities. While this problem would probably not register on the graph discussed here I'm sure it's not an inconsequential situation . At this point thought I think it's probably too late to mask any of our interests since any sufficiently interested parties could track our internet logs and see our visits to sits like this . At this point we'll have to secure our safety through public education and consultation. I figure from this point on the best way to insure all our safety is to start preaching. Not in any religious way but just to let everyone we can know the possibilities of our own future. I am personally going to start by having a rather difficult conversation with my parents about my will. Even though I'm a young person who doesn't plan on dieing any time soon I plan on insisting on cryopreservation not just for myself but for my whole family. The thought of being the first and last generation without living parents and grandparents is enough for me to break the silence towards these important issues with my family, even if they think I'm crazy.

Rasmus said...

Neat - it sort of confirms what I have often suspected but never actually known.

A freakish thought has politicians persecuted for willfully ignoring or refusing to seek out this kind of documentation, before advocating related policies.
Unfortunately, politicians have every right to be stupid and/or manipulative.

Anonymous said...

This graphic while interesting does not include magnitude of injury. I think you would find that in conditions where death is all but assured, you will see a more direct correlation to the response side of the graph.

For example: While automobile accidents are common, they are not as often fatal (doesn't mean they aren't, just that anyone can be in a fender bender and have it count). Given their regular occurrence, we process the associated numbers as rather banal. While the magnitude is greater, the mortality is lower. Contrast this with a high mortality, rare event and you have just stated the obvious.

If anything this shows the human ability for risk management.

But if someone could graphically represent survival of an incident, number of incidents and the "public outrage," then it would be worth something.

Another problem: I can't find anything saying that graphic is based on any real numbers.