Speaker Dr Sean Brady
Time 2020-01-14 09:10
Conference LCA2020
Talk details Link

Does Expertise have a Dark Side?

Roof built on 4 columns. Builder: Sagging before we lift it up. Engineer: Everything is fine, keep going. Builder: Something is very wrong. You have missed something. Designer: Everything is fine. Public: There is something wrong. Engineer: We have checked calculations, everything is fine.

Roof collapses after snow.

Reluctance to even admit there might be a problem.

Problem: People are involved. People are really good at stuffing things up.

Reason: The just got their first computer. They were convinced it was amazing. It can’t be wrong.

Inputs were wrong.


The illusion of knowledge is the greatest obstacle to knowledge.

Our brains are very awkward and let us down.

You can’t train your eyes to see past optical illusions. Even if you prove it is an optical illusion, if you remove the proof you see the illusion again.

1949 fire

Why didn’t the fire-fighters drop there tools after being ordered to do so?

Why didn’t the fire-fighters use the escape fire after being ordered to do so?

The Florida effect

People can be primed by a word game to move slower or faster.

Negative priming.

You cannot unsee the words, which send you on the wrong solution path.

Why you get the best ideas in the shower. Negative priming at your desk every day, you have had time to forget it. Can think through the problem in more rationale way.

I will not run into negative priming due to expertise. What is expertise is a form of negative priming? What if expertise is a barrier to rational thinking.

Test people will prime themselves.

What happens if we warn people? They do just as bad.

Expertise is automatic. We can’t not use it.

1949 5th August Fire

The fire-fighters could not drop there expertise, they physical tools or mental tools. They could not accept they leaders orders.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

We see everything through are expertise. Some times the situation our expertise is wrong, our tools are wrong. We default to our expertise, the wrong solution.

When fire-fighter told to drop his tools, he is told to forget he is a fire-fighter and run for his life.

We have to train fire-fighters that they can drop their tools and run. It didn’t work. Fire-fighters died almost at safe zone. Didn’t work. They had to train them properly. Compare times running with and without tools.

Am I fire fighting, or am I running?

Concept of escape fire. Was new. Creative desperation. Dropping your tools. Everything you know is not going to solve the problem. Accepting the facts. Get rid of the fuel.