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Minding the Machines: Preventing Technological Disasters by Mark Manion, William M. Evan

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Chapter 5. The Root Causes of Technological Disasters

 

“No one wants to learn by mistakes, but we cannot learn enough from successes to go beyond the state of the art.”

 
 --Henry Petroski

What are the causes of technological disasters? It would be a great comfort if we were able to identify a single cause, for that would simplify the development of a preventive strategy. Instead, we must resign ourselves to searching for multiple causes of disaster and hence for multiple strategies for assessment, management, and prevention. Analyzing the causes of technological disaster is of theoretical as well as practical significance. Pursuing our discussion of the previous chapter on sociotechnical systems, we will now focus on two systemic dimensions in an ...

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