I have always been preoccupied by bias, but last year I spent a lot more time trying to understand what drives and enables it. Bias is important – no amount of data leads to a good decision if either the data or the decision-making logic is biased. If you appreciate that, you understand why bias is the greatest opponent to robust risk management, and why what seems like good risk management may be utterly flawed. The financial collapse is an excellent and relevant example. Bias is insidious; it often works beyond the limits of our comprehension. Its subtleties lie so deep they may be invisible even to scientists, the group in society that struggles to eliminate bias more than any other. A recent article in The New Yorker beautifully explains how endemic bias plagues the scientific community, even though scientists are not conscious of it. You can read it here. If we can understand why science fails to eliminate bias, leading to expensive and mistaken decisions, we can better understand how all-pervasive bias is a constant challenge to risk management.
About the Author
Eric is a recognized expert on communications risk and assurance. He was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and others. Eric was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He was a founding member of Qatar's National Committee for Internet Safety and the first leader of the TM Forum's Enterprise Risk Management team. Eric currently sits on the committee of the Risk & Assurance Group, and is an editorial advisor to Black Swan. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy. Commsrisk is edited by Eric. Look here for more about Eric's history as editor.