6. Risk Analysis & Safety Engineering

In the previous lecture set we saw that one of the pillars and key values of RI is risk analysis and safety engineering. We also introduced some fundamental concepts to think about risk in a systematic way, like the precautionary principle and TA. Do you still remember the  ‘Collingridge dilemma’ which states that: “in the early phases of technological development, technology can still be changed, but the effects of technology are hard to predict. In the later phases, we see the opposite.”

This lecture set will continue exploring the different dimensions of risk:

  • Firstly, we will look at Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) as a means to objectively compare between the risks and rewards of alternative strategies. We will have a discussion about one important shortcoming of CBA, which is to ask “How can you put a price on priceless things?”
  • We’ll then look at various frameworks to systematically analyse risks and incidents.
  • And finally, self-driving vehicles serves as an interesting case study. We will discuss a number of ethical aspects related to this innovation.

Our bonus material for this week is ‘Dealing with Cyber-Security‘, and a long but very interesting reading titled ‘Innovation: managing risks, not avoiding it‘ with lots of interesting case studies and infographics . The latter is a fine example of RI being practiced in the real world. Take a look at your leisure!

  • 1. Managing Risks: Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • 2. Managing Risks: Balancing Risks and Safety
  • 3. Case Study: Self-driving Vehicles
  • 4. Bonus: Dealing with Cyber-Security

Readings are provided in the Readings section.

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