Human rights and the Law
This monster page elaborates on some important legal aspects of social behavior. As licensed professionals, the conditions of our license channel our options for task actions. For example, if the client is heading for failure and refuses to address the issue as you have informed him, you are required by law to withdraw from the engagement. This is why Plan B provides stop rules.
Although seldom enforced, it is a felony to be “deliberately ignorant” or “willfully blind” to the operational reality. Even less-often enforced are crimes of command and crimes of obedience. Under that law, all Plan A social systems are felonious. The fact these laws are not enforced does not mean such activity is not a crime against humanity.
- Conditions of license
- Deliberate ignorance, willful blindness
- Crimes of command/obedience
A component of organizational dysfunction
The theme is preventable damage and the process of averting, in particular, the avoidable losses inflicted on stakeholders as a consequence of dysfunctional institutional operations. It does not address the system of organizational dysfunction (OD). It is a component of the OD system, a consequence of OD, and an issue that, when you fix the system, evaporates on its own. Visit an implementation site and audit that claim for yourself.
Since Hammurabi, responsibility for forestalling this species of needless harm to society has been entrusted to statutory and civil law. The explicit duty to preclude stakeholder damage is predicated on the professional engineering conditions of license and tort law. The scope of injury that can reasonably be obviated under its standard of care has radically increased through advances in technology, leaving little of manifest stakeholder damage unpreventable. With the existence of Plan B, most of what tort law covers would be prevented. Injury rates in Plan B are half that in Plan A.
The platform for prevention derives the basis for selecting task actions focused on prevention system design that are concurrently in full compliance with prevention law. The platform serves as a dependable framework of procedures custom designed for a particular engagement. The platform itself is not a plan of action. It sets the principles, critical to success, by which goal-seeking is to take place. These principles are of extreme generality, like nature’s laws.
The interlocked chain of arguments that follow also responds to the legal duty (Ikarian Reefer), as officers of the court in these matters, to inform gatekeeper judiciary whenever a stability-threatening gap has opened up between the prevailing legal compilations of “foreseeability” and the operational reality. The central thesis of this brief is the working platform for “preventing ‘foreseeable’ damage” – the arbitrary category of damage defined by law and litigation over time. Other categories of damage are not specifically addressed.
The rationale supporting the arguments builds the socio-technical platform upon which the professional practitioner devises his plan to meet due diligence. While his law-based duty remains constant, the scope and sweep of responsibility encompassed by that duty expands as engineering virtuosity advances. The fact that competency in prevention design methodology has quantum leapt is attended by a corresponding surge in responsibility to prevent damage. That which can reasonably be prevented is always expanding. The scope of prevention duty follows technological advances.
The additional responsibility of the individual licensed professional to inform stakeholders is non transferable. The law contains no proviso or caveats for excuses for the engineer of record, including false information from the institution. Inform/consent is a required precautionary step for shaping the future that comes at you.
While there is a huge legacy of case history, research and authority concerning the theme, the arguments presented are based exclusively on the brute facts of natural law. No appeal is made to parallel exemplars flourishing throughout the League of Nations. The structure disclosed by natural law has ultimate strength on its own. The instances of example and mentor in the brief are included to clarify, not to brace the argument. This strategy inherits the attributes of natural law to the averment. With natural law, the perception is pellucid from any point of view of any observer and invariant over observers. Attaining congruency with natural law marks the end of standard of care.
Natural laws are the canons of reality, the laws of our experience. On this platform, further explanation is impossible. These laws can neither be made simpler nor more compact and their trademark reads “no exceptions.” Since the discovery of natural laws is now essentially complete, especially for the Newtonian world of engineering, the laws can explain everything that is complex. That is why they are useful. Herein constructs the inferential staircase leading directly from mathematical physics to a working description of the institutional domain. The common thread of the theme is process – foremost the learning process.
The platform for prevention, is constructed from the primordial soup of natural law. The platform supports goal-seeking of any genre where the goal is embedded in the future. All of the primary canons of the professional engineer’s standard of care, holding stakeholder health, safety and welfare paramount, are thereby served by the same platform for pragmatic foresight. It is the soul of problem-solving.
Argument that is scrutably connected to universal law is incontrovertible, not open to contention. There is nothing that can be done about or to natural law by anyone. There is no belief, judgment or opinion rendered. No blasphemy, no heresy, no magic, no casting of spells. No argument is made using expert testimony, credentials, precedent or authority. There are no empirical or anecdotal proofs. All professions and all institutions are held equal and politically correct. There is no appeal to engender faith or trust. There is no prophecy, no prestidigitation, no Book of Revelation, no reading of omens, no foretelling of particular futures. There is no call for prescience, clairvoyance, or premonitions. As there are no threats in natural law, there are no incentives. There are no disclaimers or caveats – no business judgment rule and no safe harbor statute. Attempts to defy or deny natural law serve to validate it. Ad hominem rebukes simply signal the message intended is being received.
Natural law has no goal, no meaning, no moral voltage. With perfect indifference, natural law maintains its force fields everywhere, to everyone, from every weave and warp of space-time. These arguments can be examined independently to a level of confidence that make credentials of the authors irrelevant. While the discussion makes use of engineered systems as reference, the specified prevention goal is not limited to any stakeholder, institution or system category. Bank or sewage plant, the principles are the same. The processes described are of extreme generality.
Centering on natural law provides the most stable platform for learning that is also not biodegradable. A sanctuary of unvarying principles is necessary to build robust knowledge while the Great Transition, the mess every nation is going through, proceeds. The production of requisite knowledge for goal-seeking fuels the unprecedented advances in technology now accepted and expected in an endless stream. However things turn out, natural law will be the law of the experience.
The duty here is limited to one-way informing. This is a platform of compliance for the professional engineer shaping his learning process requisite to the intelligent selection of task actions. The purpose of the precaution is to provide a framework for understanding the basis for what lies ahead in the engagement. There is no hortatory obligation on the recipient to apprehend, learn or respond in any way to the arguments. Because it is constructed from the universal fundamentals, the chain of arguments applies at every level and throughout time. The string of truth is affirmed by daily experience. There are no contrary examples.
Arguments: Preventing Foreseeable Damage
Part A: Means
The Possibility Boundary of Institutional Proficiency to Avert Damage
1 -The commingling of means and ends in an injunction collides with natural and civil law.
The efficient cause of materialized, preventable damage to those exposed to a nonreciprocal risk, is acting on a common misunderstanding of the de facto relationship of means to ends set by immutable natural law. The real-world choice is one or the other – not both. Task recipes and task goals are separate matters of kind and immiscible. Natural law, the Second Law of Thermodynamics in particular, forbids a specification of ends contingent on obedience to a specification of means. Procedures and outcomes linked together in a statement of requirements is the borrowing of trouble.
Rules of action can be held primary or the mission objective can be held paramount. You cannot command the outcome to be attained along with the procedures to be used in attaining it. You cannot specify the practices to be employed attached to responsibility for the fitness of the final product. Means/ends amalgams are highly counterproductive, transient affairs that have, in wartime, e.g., extinguished millions of lives. Since standing at the crossroads of means/ends is impossible, every individual and every group must choose one or the other as the crossroads are encountered. There is no going back.
Law does not demand what nature forbids. Civil law aligns with natural law in dealing with the issue of means distinct and distanced from ends. Professionals are held to a standard of care for services, not outcomes. The law holds the professional harmless, within his discipline code of conduct, to do whatever it takes to perform the service. Statutory law does not tie the hands of licensed professionals in the choice of task actions within established discipline expertise and for good reason. Should law once specify means, the law would automatically assume responsibility for results – a responsibility it could not then delegate. All groups and individuals face the same choice of means or ends to serve as the basis for task action selection. The law eventually learned how to assign responsibility for outcomes on the basis of who routinely acquires the requisite knowledge to make intelligent method choices.
You can have your conventions or you can realize your aspirations: you cannot have both. Every man knows that when he hears “I don’t care how you do it, but …” his mission is to arrange a future specified state and that he will be masterless while he goes about the process to attain “it.” Commentary about the ruthless cleavage natural law puts on means/ends has been recorded throughout history. In 1938, Alan Turing published a mathematical proof that “rules of action taken as infallible cannot also be intelligent.” The cleavage has also been addressed by Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem and the Church-Turing Thesis that a system of rules must also be inconsistent. Focus on means puts intelligence in rigor mortis. Cognitive initiative towards building intelligence cannot be reduced to any known terms of subordination, obedience or authoritative direction.
While institutions can accept responsibility for the rules of action by directive, such as for commanding an army, responsibility for delivering ends can only be assumed by individuals with their individual consent. When authority drops a demand for ends into the cauldron of means, or the opposite, the result is always hysteric loyalty to means.
The ancient engineering dictum “Whoever picks the parts owns the behavior,” recognizes the dominion of natural law in means/ends. The successful strategy for preventing damage is always taking notice and responsibility for system dynamics into account for the next design iteration. The designer has that depth and span of knowledge appropriate to redesign parts based upon system performance. When his system misbehaves, he is hastily sought out by name to make amends. When he gets it right, all memory of his contribution is erased.
A higher-level corollary of the dictum is “whatever sets the rules of action owns the consequences of their execution.” The automatic inheritance of responsibility is why the courts do not second-guess means when ends are paramount. If the professional service provider chooses to enter into a contract that specifies results to be attained, however, the court will not accept the profession’s standard of care as an override to the terms of the contract. There is no middle ground where the court can rest either.
Ends imposed from above as objectives are not operationally defined – specified in a structure that enables those subject to them to determine exactly the extent to which the objectives are met. This leaves evaluation of performance as a matter of management judgment and such evaluation appears arbitrary and capricious to those subjected to it. The record set by means/ends composites force-fed by authoritarian pronouncements speaks for itself. The National Baldrige Prize for Quality is a classic example of the utter futility. Deming taught quality attainment by preventing defects. The government grants the Baldrige award by obedience to its book of rules.
A duty assigned by law is about ends. It is set to deliver something special society thinks it needs where you are earmarked as a suitable agent. The obligation to abide rules of action provided by authority is taken as a cultural given in the social contract that needs no explicit emphasis. If a duty were tied to a rule of action, the author of that rule would bear responsibility for outcomes – not the person executing the rule. This condition results in frequent expressions of “How should I know? I just work here!”
Even the Federal government cannot demand means tied to ends and make it stick. “The Spearin Doctrine” has long held that when the government includes detailed specifications in a contract, it impliedly warrants that if the contractor follows the specifications, the project will not be defective or unsafe; and that if it does prove to be defective or unsafe, the contractor will not be liable for the consequences. It can be no other way. All else is intrinsically unworkable.
Blunt testaments of the means-ends cleavage are provided in the ubiquitous disclaimers. Services centered on rules have legal notices on page one, authenticating that services rendered have neither connection to nor utility for meeting a specification of ends. The professional services you engage to solve your problems disclaim any association of service rendered to attaining your goal. In the institution issuing the cleavage disclaimer, the cleavage is undiscussable and its undiscussability is undiscussable.
Disclaimers are the hallmarks of institutional recognition of its process application limits. Procedures and modalities are faithfully executed without ownership of outcomes. When you turn your problem (future) over to institutional ideology (past) to solve, the responsibility for solving your problem never leaves home. When outcomes prove disastrous, as for New Orleans’ Katrina, ritualized finger pointing deflects public attention around pre-arranged disclaimer circles that have no terminus. For the institution, disclaimers amount to cheap insurance.
2 – The institutional framework is viable only with the means option
While everyone incessantly chooses between means or ends for this or that incoming, institutions must choose means. In order to exist as an institution, it cannot choose otherwise. Starkermann has shown, using natural law, that the hierarchical structure common to every institution is viable only when operating by rules of action. In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith made it clear that “The institution can only thrive when its operations have been reduced to strict rule and method.” At the time he made that remark, Adam Smith didn’t know a Plan B could exist.
The trademark identity of any institution is the ideology by which it operates. To enable the hierarchy to make data-starved decisions so distant from the operating work face, nothing can be impromptu. The institution must have a hard-wired nervous system, faute-de-mieux, as reality requires. Skepticism and securing ground truth are paramount activities.
When an institution decides to demand ends connected to its rule set, e.g., “the floggings will continue until morale improves,” employee wisdom immediately responds to the ill-fated attempt at natural law defiance. The command of ends is transposed to focus on rules, to the exclusion of all else. When rules rule, Ca’canny follows. With means the compelling purpose, ethics is immaterial. Obedience to the authority of rules prevails over ends regardless of consequences – which automatically raises the anchor on goals, setting them adrift.
The institution locking ends to means may or may not assign blame for failing the mission to the workers, but it dares not punish obedience to the established rules of action. If the employees forsake the policy manual in order to attain the mission profile, however, no amount of success will deflect punishment. Either way it’s not a happy scene for the soldiers. This drama is common enough to have germinated the adage “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Institutions ascribe causal efficacy to rules in which the individual’s subjective sense of himself as an agent is taken for true, thereby shielding the actual nature of the emulation process. Ascribing intention to rules as objects engenders a mistaken imputation of causal efficiency to the obedient sciolists. In rule-based action, the individual is not a prime mover who initiates his own course of action. He is seamlessly replaceable.
To summarize, in order for individuals to wield differential power and control, they must head an institution. To remain viable, the institution must impress rules of action on its workforce. The requisite focus on rules automatically drops both process consequences and mission objectives from operational concern. This brute fact bars institutions from engaging a competent goal-seeking process. The purpose of the institution is what it does. Following a brief lag, what it does becomes its purpose. It is disjointed incrementalism – blind drift.
Since means and ends are separate matters in kind, each has gone its separate way. Shaped by time and circumstance to different effect, each process has evolved in Darwinian fashion to form a viable, coherent and robust system. That division organizes the brief. Part A is about the content, process and context of means (hindsight). Part B is its counterpart for the domain of ends (foresight).
3 – The exclusive focus on means restricts the navigational intelligence for institutional operations to hindsight
Natural law butt-welds emulation to hindsight. The restriction to looking only rearward in time, laudator temporis acti, is native to the institutional identity and it includes a ban on pragmatic foresight. This universal interdiction on systematically investigating the future is not arbitrary, but fundamentally necessary to sustain the hierarchy. The combination leaves everything that is negotiable to hindsight and its extended family of conventions, laws, traditions, customs, policies, sacraments, taboos and habits of thinking.
A negative history, such as preventable damage, cannot be reversed after the fact. The canons of engineering specify the priorities to hold paramount, including health, safety and well-being. Every one of these dimensions of stakeholder welfare are matters to arrange before the fact. Only negative futures can be deliberately prevented.
In conducting institutional process, business as usual, the field of ignorance is irrelevant. Rules for institutional operations, born of experience, have become enshrined as principles of received wisdom. The deontological choice of means blinds it to the consequences of its actions. When consequences are ignored, goals creep by Brownian motion. The simple fact driving the hindsight dilemma is that every decision is made in anticipation of the future and all experience and records are of the past. As making decisions in an attempt to change history is wasted energy, confining the image of the future to historical accounts is downright dangerous.
The raging institutional difficulties in evaluation and appropriate selection are caused by the absence of a salient and clearly agreed upon system of value weights. Institutional ideology proceeds on literary images – a mélange of narrative history, memories of past events, stories and conversations, etc, plus an enormous amount of ill-digested and carelessly collected recent information. Considering the extent of the field of ignorance, there is no chance that the formed image can align with reality. While projections of equilibrium are easy, they prove wrong as the operational reality unfolds. Welcome to Iraq.
No process severed from feedback about its environmental impact can fix itself. Only protracted experience with substantial consequences can, from outside in, trigger a revision of the rules. Secured by natural law, especially by the theorems of Shannon, the navigational knowledge base at any slice of time is limited to what the rear view mirror and memory can deliver, minus the time lags. As long as the Great Transition constantly changes the roads ahead, it is a crippling handicap. Future travel now passes through nothing but new construction zones that never reach completion before their purpose expires.
As reaction to corruptions of rule-based process is the singular strategy, the institution is preoccupied with unforeseen events that threaten the rule set. An institution responds more rapidly to disruptions than it does to the conditions that produce them and it does so with repressive measures – a cycle that loses control. Ashby’s Law instructs that responses available to the system controls must have as much variety as the disturbances engaging the institution may exhibit. Operating by rules demands a master synchrony that requires delay in order to function. The institutional lag to adjust its rules through daunting experience and pressure from the outside is measured in years. Governments take decades. Regulatory agencies do not adjust by experience at all.
4 – Hindsight rigor cannot reduce system entropy
There is a jus naturae specter at the institutional feast and its name is entropy. As the entropy process is irreversible, it is one of time’s arrows. The world of disturbances to institutional tranquility is the manifestation of the dissymmetry expressed by the Second Law. Ignoring the Second Law just makes matters worse. It is the Grim Reaper of rules of action – none can escape death.
The prime mover of entropy increase is simply time. Once established, the institution locks on homeostasis as its supreme priority. While the institution busies itself in making the rules idiot proof, the Second Law, unopposed, makes a better idiot. This straightforward connection to the arrow of time is how, exactly, entropy increase forms the barrier to history from participating in the future. If the time lags of institutional control are not kept within strict limits, its hindsight system becomes runaway unstable.
The increase in institutional entropy unopposed by the preoccupation with hindsight, the pathology of normalcy, is automatic and unavoidable. The institution loses the ability to perform the requisite reality testing for progressively eliminating errors. The response to crisis is cast in terms of what is to follow the events rather than what preceded them. Illustrated by NASA’s mantra, “you take what was wrong and figure out why it went wrong and then design a fix,” the crisis response culture escalates entropy buildup. As the fault cannot be responsible for the repair, the institution can’t adjust the ideology it has with the ideology it has. Don’t bother; natural law is deaf to ipse dixit persuasion.
It takes another triumph of hope over experience to assume the institutional process locked on the past will be proficient with an operational reality locked out from the past. Such wasteful attempts to defy natural law are all too common. The Great Transition turns every rule, brilliant at inception, into rank stupidity. Loyalty to obsolete rules augments the global instability.
Using history to navigate forward in time is troublesome. Hindsight invites contention while it commands no stop rule. Human knowledge limited to hindsight can never be abreast of the actual situation and, since all experience is interpreted, navigation is deeply subjective. We can remember some of the past some of the time, but we can’t remember all of it—not ever—and we’re never quite sure that we understand the part we remember. Postdiction and aftcasts are as difficult to whip into reliable information for control purposes as are prediction and forecasts.
Adminispheres adroitly apply spin to their record to create the impression that what did occur was not bad, but good, and an intended result brought to fruition by astute management. History in retrospect always has a social dimension that provides the Velcro of subjectivity for unlimited disputation. The ambiguity introduced by evanescent variables is handled by Shannon’s theorems as equivocation, also known as amphibology. It adds load to the communication system to extract the errors for control-grade information. The flow of daily news is loaded with examples at all levels. An attribute of the future enjoyed by engineering is that foresight cannot be spun. Spinning a prognostication is simply replacing one fantastic delusion with another. Your sure-fire system for picking the winning lottery numbers is as effective as any other.
When an institution reaches equilibrium, status quo ante, its behavioral profile no longer depends on time. The mission statement is obliterated by action. Gone is purpose: all that remains is direction. Institutional life is not occupied with operational consequences, but with disturbances to the routine. Its ideology is a threat system and, as such, intrinsically unstable.
The institution is further constrained in attenuating the inexorable rise in entropy by Aulin’s Law of Requisite Hierarchy: the weaker the ability to handle disturbances at any immediate level, the more hierarchy is needed. As Starkermann has shown, more hierarchy comes at the cost of more noise, corruption and delays – more leak, lag and friction. This panoply of palace paranoia is how, exactly, the decay in rule effectiveness with time multiplies entropy buildup. The limitation of hindsight to mitigate entropy strangles any competency to attain a desired future or, for prevention design, to avoid an undesirable future.
Leveraging the second law is significantly different between means and ends. It is one talent to adapt to situations as they arise; it is quite another to forestall the significant circumstances. When means is chosen as paramount, only the rate of entropy rise can be influenced, not its direction. The dismal Second Law provides, for hindsight, that the availability of problem-solving capacity continuously declines. Rewriting history does nothing to alter the entropy account.
When ends is supreme, the wormhole provided by the second law becomes an option. Entropy can be reduced locally by precautions taken in the now, in praesenti, geared to realize the future of choice. Entropy reduction can only be arranged for future time. To reduce entropy is to structure progress and that means somebody, somewhere, must do something in a way that has never been done before.
5 – The constraint of exclusive hindsight restricts the achievable span of competency of institutional process.
Institutional process, based on emulating norms, spontaneously forms a super stable social system. When natural law shapes any system into an attractor, it greatly reduces complexity in the domain of operations. Attractors act as traps of system behavior, automatically generating associated properties and relations. The hindsight attractor of Plan A is a wallpaper system. Once the pattern is perceived, there is great confidence in predicting it beyond what can be seen. All deviations and hybrids of ideological loyalty are unstable transients that will in time arc back and dissolve in the basin of the super stable state. It is fruitful to treat the institutional attractor as a Weltanschauung for perpetuating the means-focused process system.
The hindsight regime, regaled in its attractor fortress, has strict limits to its span of effectiveness. The thick walls erected to protect the rule set from assault become a possibility boundary to competency expansion. No matter the resources the institution applies to rule-based process, its range of effective application has unmovable borders. The arrow of time confines the value of hindsight to whatever intelligence can be gleaned by autopsy from the line of past events. Hindsight navigation is arithmetic using made-up numbers.
Since the institution has no choice but to spotlight rules of action, deliberate ignorance of consequences and willful blindness to mission become necessary standards of conduct. Prevention design is prohibited with scienter. Thereby the competency limits are fixed both by the restriction of hindsight enforced by natural law and by barring objective foresight as necessary to sustain the hierarchy. The 9/11 Commission Report serves as a modern encyclopedia for the student of institutional proficiency limits. In 1935, T. Watson, Sr. made the intelligence matter crystal clear to his IBM work force:
Loyalty is the great lubricant of life. It saves the wear and tear of making decisions as to what is best to do. The man who is loyal to his work is not wrung or perplexed by doubts, he sticks to the ship and if the ship founders he goes down like a hero with colors flying at the masthead and the band playing.
Encouraging the commitment to death before engaging social intelligence is not the stuff of pragmatic foresight. While the obsession with blind obedience to authority is emblematic of institutional ideology, Watson casts us adrift to wonder about the band members.
The span of competency covered by institutional process is confined to emulation and mass production in equilibrium conditions. Business as usual has several advantages that provide superior efficiency with reliable productivity during unchanging times. It has great strength within its special context but turns brittle when its realm is disturbed. Institutional ideology suppresses the learning process and prohibits reality testing. Accordingly, the margin within which instinctive proclivities can be effectively adapted to changing circumstances is narrow and inflexible. Couple that condition with the Great Transition in process worldwide and the result provides today’s news.
The difference between expectations and what the institution can deliver is the fuel of litigation. The institutional span of possible competency is sharply limited in areas characterized by future and local. Damage that results from reach exceeding grasp manifests in a variety of forms. The efficient cause of wreckage is indistinguishable from the efficient cause of sub-standard quality. Accordingly, it is impossible to have a quality-oriented project that is also unsafe. Whether the difference between expectations and delivery is upside or downside, the process effective in all matters institutional ideology cannot grasp is the same.
Human genetic propensity positioned within the institutional attractor deeds a monopoly to the institution on everything subjective, from magic to judgment to whim. The institutional attractor is home base to business, government administration, the military, and education, to name a few. The operating principles are the same and any institutional part is synecdoche for the common belief environment. The package deal attending the choice of means paramount includes an ability to withstand any amount of disconfirming evidence.
6 – In hindsight/foresight mismatch conditions, the rate of entropy increase and stakeholder damage escalates
The hindsight blinkers are more significant than just opportunities for prevention missed. For issues the institution engages that sprawl outside of its competency limits, institutional process can dramatically increase stakeholder damage. As a closed single-valued system, institutions confuse what has become poison with medicine.
Institutional ideology calls neither for the identification of issues nor their diagnoses. No attempt is made to provide explicit expectations of a particular future or the basis upon which those expectations rest. Institutional operations assume that struggle and conflict are necessary for survival and only the fit survive. Fitness is framed in terms of ability to adapt to changing natural conditions and to compete in society. Institutions, like wars, become a maternity ward in which the heroes of crisis response are born and die. Progress is defined in terms of survived threats and the cost has to be paid by the weak – as in stakeholder.
Significant entropy escalation engages automatically when the institution, forbidden to notice the obvious, pursues projects extending beyond its span of proficiency. The resources spent to protect the reputation of business as usual, all the while preventable damage is being heaped upon the stakeholders, who cannot retaliate, add greatly, directly and irreversibly to its own entropy increase. When an institution impales its stakeholders, it impairs itself. No warnings to stakeholders are ever issued as the eye of swirling calamity approaches. It is a reign of error duly protected by the business judgment rule. Institutions are not restricted to the use of slow means of self-destruction.
While an institution pursuing the impossible is in a transient unstable condition, one that ends in collapse, the scenario is common in the contemporary institutional milieu. The Great Transition generates an abundance of situations that, coupled with business as usual, enter into this unstable transitory phase. The fact that the condition harms society in material ways does not attenuate its popularity. Without survival value, this spiral to oblivion must be excluded from the list of possible choices simply because it excludes itself.
The institution can feign taking responsibility for solving problems unresponsive to its rule-based process, but rear-view mirror exclusivity has no stop rule when matters inevitably go awry. There are no checks and balances in business as usual. Its conclusions are assumed in its premises petitio principii. The institution keeps multiplying stakeholder losses until it runs out of resources. To an outside observer, because that’s what it does, the purpose of the institution seems to be, at any cost to itself, maximizing stakeholder damage. Years of institutional violence to its stakeholders degrade the corporate creed – eventually undermining its own foundation. This widespread condition, entirely avoidable, harms all areas of society.
Preventable damage inflicted on stakeholders is an intramural affair of the national culture. It is a condition our social system endures by settled habit of our social system. Foreign armies are not invading our homeland delivering the blitzkrieg. The waste and the increase in entropy it generates are quite unnecessary.
The Establishment exhibits several examples of the entropy escalation syndrome. For one, it appropriately assigns ends responsibility to engineering and then truncates delivery of due diligence. It makes the engineer liable for failing his sworn responsibility and then insulates him from litigation by poverty. The intramural self-degrading cycle can be observed within an institution, among institutions and in syndicates of institutions. The fact it is nested signals natural law governance.
When the mandate to prevent foreseeable stakeholder damage confronts an over-extended institution, the professional entropy-reducer enters the dominion of a formidable damage-generating machine. He is required by his code of conduct to address the mismatch constraint as a prerequisite for continuing the engagement. It is the most challenging of professional duties and absolutely the most thankless.
7 – The law provides stakeholder safeguards against preventable damage
Congress has assigned mitigation of the institutional limitation and mismatch peril to government agency and law for more than a century. In response to protracted stakeholder calamities, such as steam-side boiler explosions and train wrecks, Congress established regulatory bodies and commissions to dispense incentives to the offending institutions to do all that hindsight math allowed to reduce injury. Incentives multiply force, not direction.
As institutions, the regulators are constrained by the same compulsions and factors to operate by rules with rules – following the well-worn path of least intelligence. There is no centralized will. The ideology of an institution limits its knowledge resource to “wisdom,” folk knowledge arising out of the ordinary experience from rule-based operations. It is a case of generic hindsight regulating particular hindsight, so compliance incentives are cosmetic. The rule set is promoted as a miracle cure, like the spontaneous remission of symptoms for a terminally ill patient. Codes and rules are the coin of means paramount.
In these hot days of change, it doesn’t take long for rules to spoil. Folk knowledge is not adequate to deal with rapid change that places wisdom too close to folly. Trust in wisdom in the face of a lack of appropriate knowledge inexorably leads to ideological betrayal. Technology progresses faster than codes can be developed, amended and adopted.
No regulator agency of any kind ever warrants that compliance to its rule set will attain the goal for which the regulator was chartered. That would tie responsibility for results to the regulator. In the eyes of the law, non-compliance to rules is negligence per se, closing the regulatory enforcement loop without including the dire consequences of executing entropy-corroded rules.
While preventing stakeholder damage is always the explicit goal heading the Congressional charter of the regulatory agency, stakeholders are slow to recognize the sleight of hand to get operational – standards, statutes, codes, licenses and permits. Knowing the inevitable outcome, the first order of agency business is to obtain legal immunity for failing the charter goal. It had to choose means paramount to exist and it takes appropriate precautions for its defense when failing the mission eventually becomes obvious to stakeholders. It is the only act of foresight engineering the agency will ever stage. The resources it requires to exist flow in by the calendar, oblivious to performance.
Rule-based regulation, centered on hindsight law, offers the impression of progress by producing the impression of movement. The huge amount of preventable damage incessantly generated by this hindsight-blinkered system, rendered selectively incompetent by natural law, is as much a report card on the regulators as it is on the regulated. With this system of professional sentinels, stakeholders are left more exposed to loss than they were before.
The arrangement of regulator and the regulated is eminently collegial. It is a closed, single-valued alliance that makes no pretense otherwise. Taking due care not to engage issues outside of institutional limits, the focus is unequivocally on means. Compliance consists of obedience to rules of action provided by the regulator in convenient checklist form. For its part, the regulated institution holds that negligence detected is an act of god, not a violation of law. Nowhere in this joint realm is responsibility of any kind, expressed or implied, taken for attaining stated or intended outcomes described in the regulatory Charter. If the rules don’t prevent stakeholder damage of the foreseeable sort, preconfigured law holds both the regulator and the regulated harmless.
The duty of prevention
To address the considerable matter of stakeholder damage that hindsight regulation ignores, Congress gave the oversight and incentive design responsibility to law, a profession founded on legitimized coercion. Recognizing that no institution can hold ends paramount; the foresight-law duty to deliver prevention was placed on the one discipline that operates far from the gravitational pull of the institutional attractor. Only the engineering profession, the first and oldest by a millennium, is based on foresight, on ends. Engineering is thereby the only profession burdened with affirmative legal obligations for delivering prevention under foresight law. The medical professional’s injunction “Do no harm” is moved upward by the Hippocrates of engineering to “Let no harm befall.” Enforcement of the prevention duty, using incentives, is not assigned to an institution but to individual judges designated as gatekeepers by the US Supreme Court (Daubert and progeny).
Public interest expressed in general expectations of professional service becomes more sophisticated with advances in engineering competency. Because prevention is centered on the future where something can still be done in the now to change futures, engineering duty is pregnant with obligations to public well-being. These obligations “increase in proportion to the danger that should reasonably be foreseen” (Hedrick 1990), a duty that requires danger assessment up front. The new practicality of making inspection trips ahead in time, at proving grounds physical or virtual, has propelled the duty of loss preemption to lofty levels.
The Establishment law concerning obligations for shaping the future (ends) is tort, which defines and incentivizes the duty of “foreseeability” to the benefit of stakeholders nonreciprocally exposed to preventable damage. Tort, foresight law, is necessary to maintain close relations between legal logic and practical experience. Engineering has been singled out for the prevention delivery responsibility to stakeholders (ends) because no other profession would ever assume the duty. If the obligation were to be parceled out in fragments to various professions, the result would be disclaimer tag. The currency of tort is ends, prevention delivery in particular. There are no rules of action in tort.
Stakeholder damage litigated under tort law covers several categories of loss. The history of foresight law shows that the damage classes being processed at any point in time depend upon the pecuniary damage tolerance of the stakeholder. Engineering foresight makes no distinction among the damage classes, treating quality issues and injury issues using the same process. Liability insurance surveys estimate the tort industry handle exceeds $.4 trillion per year.
The venerable arrangement of tort law and the foresight profession is coherent – up to a point. It is an open, many-valued system. The forced choice of means or ends is unequivocally on ends (deliver stakeholder damage prevention) – up to a point. A convoluted time-displaced arrangement has been contrived by law to attach duty to prevention as an end goal – but only as it deems appropriate. This contrivance allows law to protect institutional status quo ante except in the most egregious public cases, such as Enron.
Compliance defined by ends, foresight law, consists of faithful adherence to the standard of care of the profession to attain the stated goals. Failure to foresee the foreseeable harm is nonfeasance per se. The system is rational as far as it goes, but law cannot escape the means/ends bind enforced by its boss, natural law, either. No due process can protect institutional (means) status quo ante and prevent damage to stakeholders (ends) at the same time. Protecting the root cause of preventable stakeholder damage, on the one hand, runs at odds with the duty to deliver stakeholder protection from that damage, on the other.
The law does not hide the profound contradiction in value systems. While the professional engineer’s public oath of license is to hold stakeholders’ welfare paramount, the law makes it clear that shareholders are the owners of institutions and that institutional hierarchy is to hold shareholder interests paramount. In practice, the law chooses to protect the institution’s owners and administrators at the expense of whomever it may concern. Thereby, the definition of “foreseeability” established by tort is seen from two different value systems. The foresight legal system that defines foreseeability sees a duty to some stockholders while the engineers that comply with foreseeability duty, as enforced, are responsible for preventing foreseeable damage to stakeholders.
Because the law chooses to protect institutional ideology foremost, the whole stated matter of damage prevention disappears in a tissue of metaphors to reappear expurgated and sterilized into enhanced crisis response. While the institution is kept free to continue on as if nothing abnormal is being litigated, very few damaged stakeholders outlive due process. The pro-hierarchy bias carries on behind a rhetoric dependably embraced by the public. Even when serious amounts of preventable damage flood past the watchdogs and gatekeepers to drown stakeholders, as with Enron, the system remains closed to change. Stakeholders and ordinary stockholders quietly pay the freight, as they always have.
A significant constraint of tort, from a stakeholder perspective, is that the incentive it levies on the negligent institution is financial compensation for the preventable damage inflicted. Although it is the flagship of “foreseeability,” the world of tort is all after-the-fact retroactive. The hindsight feature of its design serves the bias of law to benefit executive stockholders over stakeholders. It intentionally operates on the fully discredited assumption that given enough pecuniary incentive, after the damage has been done, institutions are entirely capable of amending their ways to embrace the competency of prevention. All it takes is a tweak to corporate culture to get the job done.
The premise that the competency is there, but deliberately withheld, makes it a propaganda mill. The US Sentencing Commission runs a parallel demonstration that financial incentives of gargantuan size are impotent towards preventing stakeholder damage at the hands of institutional process. No package of incentives can force an institution to operate athwart of its identity. Oscar Hammerstein’s line in Oklahoma about saying “no” said it best: “How can I be what I ain’t?”
Proving institutional negligence by litigation, tort may compensate some of the damaged stakeholders some of the time, but the tort system is itself disconnected from the law-stated duty and purpose of “foreseeability.” It provides no feedback connected to remedy the growing discrepancy of preventable stakeholder damage. The menagerie of watchdogs and gatekeepers, regulators and tort, serves to narcotize stakeholders to the reality of their predicament. They are just as exposed to preventable damage with the institutionalized incentive system in service, at their expense, as they were without it. The goal of relief by prevention, foresight law, will not be met until goal-seeking processes competent to deliver prevention are applied.
Foreseeability has been shaped by litigation largely as a subjective process, undertaken by a well-informed designer. At the time of design, the engineer is expected to account for events of future use by professional judgment, forming a duty that will be benchmarked with the advantage of hindsight – retroactively. The foreseeability standard of care is determined anew for each case by the presiding judge, which is how law deals with its own entropy buildup. Ultimately, the duty is a question of fact to be answered by a jury. There is no foreseeability rulebook. No checklists.
One independent test of the arguments to this point is to review how law handles its assignment in the matter of administrating incentives for protecting stakeholders from damage. For the hindsight temporal realm, means, regulatory agencies inspect for rule compliance on a set schedule oblivious to the events of damage. Trivial fines are levied on the basis of non-compliance to the rules, i.e. negligence per se, regardless of severity of consequences.
For the separate realm of prevention delivery, ends, no scheduled regulatory inspections are performed. There is no such thing as preventing manifest damage retroactively. While anyone can audit hindsight process using the rules as a checklist, only foresight talent can credibly audit foresight. There are no penalties for prevention duty non-compliance, in any case, as the law does not hold dereliction of duty before damage to be negligent. Audit of the duty is triggered by damage. Litigation driven inspections are conducted to evaluate duty compliance retroactively. Suddenly, that which was not held negligent at the time, according to the historical record, is posthumously declared negligent. The engineer has yet to be born that can resonate with the rationale of this convention, although its purpose is obvious. The attitude shifts in law sparked by preventable catastrophic events are truly remarkable.
All prevention design is future and local. This translates into huge amounts of specialized intelligence. Accordingly, no regulatory agency wants any part of auditing the unending duty of “foreseeability.” It is impossible to use the benchmarks of responsible hindsight to audit foresight for contemporary compliance. Furthermore, For example, the notion that a rules-based regulator could judge the veracity of Burt Rutan’s SpaceshipOne project to prevent pilot injury is ludicrous. Given a free hand, the regulator would not know where to begin.
Non-compliance to prevent as-you-go has no legal sanction and rulings of non-compliance settled by litigation do not call for implementing the prevention process in future operations. The arrangement that caused the damage continues on unopposed. Reuters’ studies on the efficacy of pecuniary incentives affirm common experience: “firms learned little from the results of litigation about either specific design decisions or the process of design decision making. The information generated by specific liability suits was treated as random noise.” Stakeholders, oblivious to the record, accept the barefaced asymmetry of the law as the ordinary state of affairs, comforting themselves with “it could have been worse.”
Only goal-seeking procedures grounded in dynamics of the future are capable of local entropy reduction through the wormhole the second law allows. Reducing entropy requires applied structure and work in a direction that is anything but spontaneous. It is this condition of license, the standard of care for proactively lowering entropy, which compels inform/consent prior to services rendered – an initial duty settled herein by your forbearance.
This ends Part A of the argument sequence concluding that any viable institution has strict limits, set by navigational intelligence it deliberately confines to hindsight, in the competency of its process to avert stakeholder damage. The survival game plan of society rests on the premise that institutional process is omnipotent and that setting it to work on various threats to social order will ensure cultural immortality. Exclusive institutional hindsight is law-protected. “Inspired” institutional prognostication is law-protected.
Stakeholder damage can be greatly multiplied by institutions in a process mismatch condition – when it is applying business as usual to matters immune to its process. The uncoordinated yielding to the pressure of circumstances creates an entropy runaway condition, enforced by natural law and echoed by the progression of statutory and civil law. Because of the pertinent temporal process of his discipline, the professional engineer has been assigned distinctive duties, working ahead of the ever-approaching damage event horizon. Institutional process and engineering foresight have a joint restriction that compels the sacrifice of one sphere of operations if the other is necessary.
Whatever the concerns about delivering prevention, the institutional attractor is still the vehicle that got us here. The eminently unyielding stability and sufficiency of the principles of institutional operations are just encountering new socio-technical conditions and a learning process over which the institution has no control. The Tree of Knowledge is heavy with exotic fruit and society, having eaten it, must put up with the consequences.
Institutions are operating same as always in a world transforming at a rate of change for which their design is ill suited. Disturbing causes of the Great Transition, not the enlightened principles of honest living, produce the odious outcomes. Stakeholders accept the unnecessary losses by social conditioning, where they are taught to internalize a value system based on long-run consequences. Under the unexampled order of circumstances, it all promises to be more preventable damage and vexation for the stakeholders.
Preventing Foreseeable Damage
Part B: Ends
1 – Process centered on ends, pragmatic foresight, is distanced from institutional process centered on rules of action
Part A covered the means side of stakeholder protection, hindsight law. Part B encompasses the ends contribution to prevention delivery, foresight law. From the view of meeting the critical survival needs of society, the two process realms are completely incompatible and fully complementary. The authority of the institution (A) is derived from the authorities of the past. The legitimacy of engineering foresight (B) is established by fulfilled prediction. In pragmatic foresight, transparency is attained by no unfalsifiable statements. The relentless pursuit of goals displaces subjectivity with objectivity until the objective essence is all that remains.
Engineering foresight is an intelligence building process for directing the intervention of the future. It functions at the core learning process by which knowledge is acquired and it rests on autonomy and individual consent to seek the goal. Since history has no wormhole for retrospective prevention, effective prevention systems are inherently future-based. The competency to investigate the future derives from skills at learning and from the innovative bent for making the learning process ever more efficient and productive. Better learning runs in a straight line to goal attainment. What you get by entrusting a hindsight process with future-based prevention is the damage you endure.
The big distinction between hindsight law and foresight law is the amount of knowledge required before task selection takes place. Since all damage prevention is specific and local, the field of requisite local knowledge for prevention delivery is multiples of that adequate for rule-based operations. There is just so much more local area than there is for obedience to authority. Since all damage prevention involves a dynamic which has many degrees of freedom, the intelligence demand is much higher than that sufficient for generalized rules for static states. Since all prevention is future, the quantity of possible, local, dynamic conditions sends the number of unique states relevant to prevention delivery to infinity. All methods for bringing such vast quantities down to manageable size do so by developing knowledge.
Hindsight’s field experience no longer serves as the best teacher. It is too slow, too ambiguous and too imprecise. For foresight, the majority of work engages the learning process and systematic knowledge development. Getting the complexity down to sizes that craniums can grasp is strictly a function of information received. Without the capability to acquire the necessary information in an efficient manner, the cause is lost. For simple systems, subjective practices can suffice. It is unimaginable, however, that a complex artifact like the GPS could evolve from instinct and whim.
Society recognizes engineering foresight apart from institutional orthodoxy in several ways. As there is no institutional cranium, learning is a wholly a personal matter. Accordingly, the institution considers personal initiative about learning a badge of disloyalty. In the ubiquitous mismatch transient condition, any form of learning is forbidden. In contrast, foresight engineering installs learning skills at its pantheon center. Since ends are primary, the best methods to get there are discipline diamonds.
The institution is locked on means, status quo ante, as necessary for it to exist. Accordingly, the affair fixated on ends can neither occupy the institutional niche nor echo its associated ideology. It is irresponsible to ask a member of one attractor to do what he cannot – execute any signature process of the other attractor. Unbridled innovation empowered by the quantum advance in the learning process is the prime mover of the torrent of new artifacts fueling the Great Transition.
The influence of the ends attractor gang on culture is acknowledged indirectly, for example, by the TV series on the “Great Engineering Disasters” run daily year in and year out. Failures of engineered systems that greatly harmed the public are never balanced by shows about the failures of the institutional hindsight disciplines, such as government and law, which have generated far more harm. There is, intentionally, no Nobel Prize for engineering.
Engineering foresight is a knowledge-building process that directs the interventions necessary to prevent foreseeable damage. Delivering prevention requires an appropriate context, including autonomy, so the structured work of learning can proceed with good productivity. This combination, self-validated by goal-seeking success, is shaped by natural law into an attractor. It is potent in keeping the spotlight on its purpose in spite of disturbances. Benjamin Franklin recognized a key attribute of the ends attractor:
To be thrown upon one’s own resources is to be cast into the very lap of fortune; for our faculties then undergo a development and display an energy of which they were previously unsusceptible.
Prevention design is systematic progress and progress cannot take place without change. Preventing stakeholder damage is a tangible, measurable end. It recognizes that fiduciary responsibility to shareholders is very different than responsibility for stakeholder welfare. It further recognizes that prevention is a dynamic challenge incessantly refreshed by entropy for which astute husbandry is essential.
As the means/ends confusions perpetuated by natural law teach, goal seeking cannot also showcase obedience to rules of action. The process of delivering the readily achievable in prevention for stakeholders must be temporally unrestricted. The choice of ends is the commitment to attain the goal that lies ahead of experience, launching another expedition into intelligence wilderness. One advantage to pragmatic foresight is the absence of a social constraint in the application setting.
Any process that achieves appropriate selection, intelligence, as succinctly and completely defined by Ashby, does so as a consequence of information received (Shannon). In developing the requisite knowledge for expediting intelligence, foresight engineering consumes energy, a loss rule-based operations does not have to pay. The foresight temporal domain is the realm of mathematical physics, operationalized by the calculus, upon which all engineering builds. Knowledge development via mathematical physics expressed in computable algorithms has moved to the center bench of the workroom.
All problem solving, prevention system design in particular, is taking precautions during the now to proactively encourage a preferred future. As far as the work to be done goes, it’s the same as proactively discouraging a particular condition in a niche of the possible future. You cannot intervene for one independently of the other. Encouraging wanted and discouraging unwanted together composes the universal design process. No matter how the method of prevention design is characterized, it doesn’t change what has to take place.
Whether passive or active in function, prevention system design absolutely requires local knowledge of the dynamics in the niche of the future of interest. The designer always seeks lessons learned from hindsight, but it is foresight investigation that settles how much of the future will be a reasonable facsimile of the past – for design purposes. Prevention design avoids the frequency/severity snare of “risk management” that deliberately bogs things down in subjective matter. The institution decrees the design basis events. Those events are run for a pass/fail measure of the prevention system. No interpretation.
Foresight engineering is not forecasting, prognosticating or divining. It is not a question of what ought to be done, but what is to take place – a preoccupation with “what’s next and why.” The logic of engineering is the logic of events without the force of sentiment. Occasionally called “What if…” engineering, it materializes a surrogate in a specified alcove of the possible future and investigates the performance via a model. Fly it before you buy it. Meteorologists label the undertaking to move the weather map forward in time, futurecasting. Moving the state map back in time from strewn wreckage is called accident reconstruction. Efficient, reliable prevention design engages high fidelity, instrumented enactment of possible future scenarios. This field is the backbone of feedforward control, a natural law featured in Plan B.
All design is developing knowledge about dynamics that nobody knew before. For delivering prevention, the engineer uses an intervention process especially adapted to foresight so that he can predict the future, not because he knows it, but because he makes it. The engineer is set to the task of obtaining new knowledge from natural law rather from men or from books. He develops an image of the future in the furtherance of which precautions are taken in the present. This process proceeds through a succession of disappointments.
Both hindsight for means and foresight for ends, have several distinguishing attributes. Where hindsight/means rules, analysis is the modality of choice. In foresight/goal seeking, synthesis is the treasured talent. Gallant response to crisis is at the center of institutional excitement and pride, while anticipating and averting crises is the dull hallmark of professional work in engineering foresight. The veteran of one paradigm is dependably uncomfortable when visiting the “alien” environment of the other paradigm. The relationship between paradigms is roughly equivalent to matter making contact with anti-matter.
As the ends-committed project proceeds, progress can be measured by how much of the focus has shifted from the participants themselves to their knowledge artifacts. At the end, no one cares who did the work or how it was done. The lost knowledge about constructing the great pyramids and erecting the huge obelisks at Luxor, for example, is entirely consistent. Feats such as prevention delivery proceed on very different grounds than business as usual. Without subjectivity Velcro, the institutional monopoly on subjectivity has no place to attach.
Inside the institutional attractor, the operational intelligence gradient is top down IQ – an imaginary spread in the hierarchy of around two to one from executive to worker that never exists in practice. With ends paramount, the intelligence amplification route produces a bottom up intelligence gradient that spans several orders of IQ magnitude. The amplification multiple is so large, designer IQ is rendered an immaterial variable for achievement. For this reason, every boost in computer power is rapidly commandeered by engineering to make another jump in the intelligence amplification advantage. It is the same power and the same process that sends animated movies and computer gaming to ever-higher levels of realism.
While engineering has, for centuries, released much of its work nonverbally, the new competency has radically changed the form. The traditional release vehicle was the blueprint, an engineering drawing of system parts composed according to strict industry-wide standards of symbols. These configuration drawings, static, relied upon layers of human checkers to catch what errors they could before release. This venerable term reveals embedded institutional knowledge of the two attractors as engineered systems are “released” from the ends domain to the means attractor maintained by institutional ideology. At various times past before air conditioning, the release ceremony was called “over the transom.”
Because information about system dynamics was unavailable at turnover, performance was open to conjecture and debate. In days of yore, imperfections were caught during commissioning as a joint effort and the drawings revised accordingly. When circumstances developed during the 1970s that artificially prohibited the cooperative effort, litigation costs about errors that made it through the adversarial system exploded in significance. On large construction projects, on average, about 30% of the total expense is now consumed by related legal and insurance maneuverings over transferring risk and litigation. It is a stream of pure waste settled into habit.
When validation of system dynamics could be delivered in the release product at zero subjectivity, the venerable traditions about release became obsolete. Configurations in 3-D, necessary for dynamic simulations, go through the error-checking process intrinsic to the sophisticated modular simulation programs. Thus, the matter of residual error has changed considerably. The huge waste to litigation can be shed at will.
2 – The span and competency of foresight process is based on the ways and means of entropy extraction permitted by the Second Law
Foresight engineering processes pick up right where institutional process must leave off. Its strategies for providing the necessary and sufficient intelligence required to reduce entropy are constrained by requisites to transit the wormhole allowed by the Second Law. It is a passport to hard labor, but the foresight engineer gets to build with an algorithm of matchless power, elegance, concision and reliability. Engineering foresight is a learning process that directs the interventions necessary to prevent foreseeable stakeholder damage.
Life, as Shroedinger said, feeds on entropy. Entropy reduction is always struggling uphill with a process distinctly unspontaneous. It’s the difference between turning fuel into heat and turning fuel into air conditioning. A fireplace will do for the former, but the latter takes a cabinet full of motors and machinery configured in an elaborate dance with thermodynamics few understand. Attaining ends compels reducing entropy in the local system and only one hard way is permitted by natural law.
Ashby defined attaining the goal as a message of zero entropy from the solution system. Reducing entropy in any system requires large amounts of relevant intelligence energetically applied in the form of structure and work. The entropy-reducing ethos keeps entropy from increasing in the prevention design process as well. Procedures are changed on the fly, without sentiment, as fast as technology advances. All entropy reduction and system husbandry are rooted in the calculus.
Developing operating knowledge about possible futures, a learning process, is the structuring of information into something essentially different from the information itself. It exploits the teleological property of knowledge – the ability of a knowledge system to realize an image of the future that exists in the present (where you can do something to arrange for it). To the engineer obliged to deliver prevention, the only way he is going to leverage natural law to this purpose is with collision-scenario intelligence, i.e., making previous inspection trips. Knowledge of future dynamics from forays into possible futures legitimizes the methodology and conveys the authority to act.
The mastodon in the foresight workroom is quantitative complexity. Since the future is volume and not a line as it is for hindsight, the unique states possible combinatorially explode in number. The field of choice within which the appropriate selection must be made is gigantic beyond human comprehension. Even in systems that appear simple, the number of unique possible future states exceeds the number of atoms in the universe. The individual human brain, however, can only compute so many states in a day. This gross mismatch between demand and supply plagued engineering foresight for millennia. The deficiency was bridged by judgment – resulting in a record with the advancements and retreats of blind chance.
To compound the ubiquitous tyranny of quantity, the long record of engineering judgment in the dynamic performance of systems in future circumstances is a hall of shame. Statics and equilibrium can teach nothing about prevention. The future contains ineradicable surprise.
The veteran engineer becomes skeptical of his own inference of future system dynamics since his intuition fails more often than pure luck would succeed. It is why designers jumped en masse at the chance to get rid of the future system dynamics opining burden altogether. Now, after making the inspection trips, the engineer can claim the performance results were just as he expected. As long as he doesn’t believe the boast himself, it doesn’t much matter.
Cybernetic methods to shrink the field of ignorance down to human dimensions were perfected by 1960 (Ashby) but the computational horsepower required to deal with the calculus for foresight became available only during the 1980s. Calculus is a big player in prevention and frequently the mathematical structure that lies at the core of a domain of seemingly unrelated issues. The design task for prevention demands scrutable construction of the calculus-based inferential staircase leading from the laws of physics to the world that lies possible in the future.
While methods based on the calculus made engineering foresight viable, the advent of massive computer power made investigating possible futures practical. In all the long history of technology, the ongoing prolific growth of electronic metabolism is unprecedented in both suddenness and scale. Engineering is quick to exploit computer power increases to advantage. The prevailing taken-for-granted premise in foresight law, that foreseeability is a subjective process, no longer squares with the facts. If foresight engineering were still adorned with subjectivity Velcro, there would be no cell phone.
The institutional angst concerning the learning process is that the future of human knowledge is unknowable. If it were predictable in any portion, it would be known now. The unheralded advent of enormous intelligence amplification for the masses was not predicted by anyone, including engineers, in 1980 when the epoch reorganizing the learning process began. The evolution of knowledge development can still zoom in any direction by any amount. The only constant in this scene is that whatever the advance, whenever it occurs, engineers will immediately put it to work. It is the genetic engineering drive for know-how over know-what.
Amplifying your intelligence
The combination of Ashby’s process rooted in natural law and immense computational clout enabled a stellar explosion in intelligence amplification – fully enabling the designer in his requisite descent to the underlying physics of the system. The payoff of the marriage of engineering process and intelligence amplification in the last two decades has been a quantum leap in the competency to reduce entropy in the system of interest. Addiction to the unique benefits of this splendid learning scheme is what, exactly, is expanding engineering competency.
Since the stakeholder safeguard issue is never finally put to rest, the essential knowledge and intelligence developed for the delivery of prevention is embedded in the delivered package for continuing husbandry service. Driving system entropy to zero is not the end of the duty of prevention since the Second Law does not end. The transformation functions used to investigate the future for design keep doing so as time marches on in application. By using the system behavior model as a running benchmark, actual performance is continuously compared to predicted performance as service time proceeds. Neural network technology takes operating experience into account to improve the benchmark model in step with experience (Conant’s Theorem). This design strategy provides the coveted features of self-regulation and self-adaptation. So equipped, the combination is able to prevent corruptions in service from disturbances unimaginable at the time of the specification. Like Watt’s flyball governor, the control keeps the system intact and serviceable without immediate concern for identification and details of the disturbing source.
Prevention, locking the barn before the attempt to steal the horse, can be delivered with the foreknowledge that it is effective against the design basis hazards and perils with 20/20 foresight. To personally experience the entropy reduction process first hand, make a bed.
3- The process of engineering foresight, a principal beneficiary of the explosion in learning horsepower for knowledge development, has radically advanced in scope and competency
Up to 1970, stakeholder damage that was reasonably preventable by engineering foresight, using available technology fully and faithfully applied, accounted for a small part of the actual aggregate damage caused by institutional operations. In 2008, nearly all stakeholder damage is reasonably preventable by authentic application of the foresight-engineering standard of care. This massive change has yet to be assimilated by due process for the benefit of stakeholders.
The father of foresight engineering is Pierre-Simon La Place, who presented the theorem in 1814:
A mind that in a given instance knew all the forces by which nature is animated and the position of all the bodies of which it is composed, if it were vast enough to include all these data within his analysis, could embrace in one single formula the movements of the largest bodies of the universe and the smallest atoms; nothing would be uncertain for him; the future and the past would be equally before his eyes.
It took almost two centuries for the necessary amplification technology to arrive, but Father La Place would be proud. The kicker “if it were vast enough” has been removed. This is how the democratization of intelligence amplification became pivotal in rocketing the competency of engineering foresight to such towering levels. In the perversion of brilliance, the principle of efficient cause has displaced the principle of sufficient reason. Foresight engineering has shifted the metaphysical footing of knowledge from a semi-subjective ground to an all-objective foundation. The advance in foresight veracity beyond artisanship has empowered the autonomous nerd of this generation to go well beyond the level reached by the genius of the last generation.
The duty of the engineer is to formulate the objectives of prevention by balancing the conflicting claims of the various stakeholders. He alone has a unique responsibility to hold stakeholder welfare paramount.
Fanatically dedicated to ends, he issues no disclaimers. He can’t. While professional engineers are law protected for services rendered, attaining ends is the duty and service of engineering foresight. Here in the basin of the ends attractor, obedience to norms is not the goal; the goal is the goal.
To eliminate the threat of arbitrary hindsight veto, when the goal of delivering prevention is met and released to the institutional attractor, the bodyguards of transparency and zero subjectivity attend the system performance exhibit. Transparency is the elimination of meaning, the purging of all Velcro-covered anthropomorphic residues. This requisite characteristic of the release package is attained using the proven method of science. The claim of mission accomplished is provided with complete instructions for running an experiment for independent claim validation. Release is a message of zero entropy, subject to Shannon’s Theorems, that conveys a nonverbal, Popper-grade falsification procedure. For this condition, science or engineering, qualifications of the messenger are meaningless.
Prevention delivery is a process of putting into the system’s “mind” precautions that reflect its relationship to the whole of which it is a part. It is the obverse of the exclusive relationship of the system to the welfare of its parts exhibited by the institution. The work of foresight engineering proceeds with an eye towards the zero subjectivity attribute. The release includes a “box” that contains the apparatus, the experiment and instructions for falsification. The box for independent validation shows scrutable connectivity to natural law inside in precise detail. This is not a box contrived separately for the release ceremony. It is the same box used by the designer to reach the goal in the first place. The box itself can be independently constructed. In this method, the investigation at release focuses on the work product. The producer, due diligence and all, has erased his identity.
Always working within natural law’s zone of indifference, construction initializes with requisite brute facts – transparent, quantitative and scrutably connected. Factual elements are demonstrable, repeatable and independently auditable. The engineering process to investigate the future ahead of the immediate present takes the existing reality as the starting point. There is no memory in the present – only a state of affairs. Even if disagreeable, the now is always coherent and complete.
In addition to basic system configuration and parameterization, the process entails a congeries of computational schemes, algorithms, specialized programming languages, techniques for numerical integration, massive programs for modular modeling, interpolation methods, computer-theoretic shortcuts, and ingenuity to convert the data from the inspection trip ahead in time into coherent patterns pertinent to the objective.
Then, using the transfer function of reality operating on the present instant, time is moved forward in discrete steps, respecting the laws of conservation. The now state is sent ahead of experience deterministically, crab-wise, to one next state. Here the afterburners of intelligence amplification are lit. Recursion takes the now for its power ride through the wormhole into the future on the back of this algorithm, also called the characteristic equation, according to the script of imposed disturbances of the design basis events. The ultimate but subtle advantage to the foresight practitioner is that the dynamic simulation process will only run at all when it is reconciled with natural law. With modular modeling programs, all modules are created from natural law primitives. The combination makes it impossible to compile an attempt to defy natural law into a model that will move states through time. Incoherence can exist on paper, of course, but putting it into action passes control to natural law and it has no Court of Appeal.
This wormhole exercise explores a single thread to a future possibility. Additional investigations are done, always starting from the right now, for the other design basis scenarios. This cycle is repeated scenario by scenario until the tracks through the future of interest have reached the specified stop rule. Using this method for making scouting trips ahead, the engineer need not feel curious about meeting due diligence. Nothing can be superior to turning natural law to account. Foresight engineering is the only profession where applying objective tests of the knowledge in use is not a shattering experience. In fact, such testing is encouraged.
Proactive, forward system thinking
There is no magical shortcut to success of the methodology. Prevention is intervention. In the 1930s, Boole and Turing published a proof showing how a tactically fallible process could be made strategically infallible by introducing the ability to learn from consequences. The intelligence arises not from the unfolding of a predetermined master plan, but by the accumulation of knowledge through the route of small consequences. All intelligence is collective and graded on the ability to select a strategy leading to the objective.
Intelligence amplification, powered-up during the recursion phase, now occupies an esteemed position in the engineer’s pantheon. It is the oval office of prevention delivery. The advent of foresight algorithm infallibility signaled that a question of certainty had come to replace a question of judgment. Once the capability became available, no one with the humiliating experiences of using his expertise to set future’s table could ever bring himself to default to judgment again. It reveals the standard hindsight practice of forming a consensus about “meaning” in the future for what it is – a menace to society.
The entire process of foresight engineering can be demonstrated on a laptop on anyone’s lap. The auditor himself largely carries out the demonstration using “proof in a box.” He is given the controls to time travel about in the virtual space, encountering the disturbances as he chooses. The exhibit is not unlike a flight simulator. He can compare the “flight” to his collection of experience. He knows that if the affair was not based on natural law, the dynamic interactive trip though time forward would not work at all.
Your operational reality serves as a personal example of this turbocharged competency. It is crowded with engineered artifacts acquired during the last decade that would never exist if the maximum intelligence available was still confined to a gaggle of human minds. Each smartphone, for one exemplar, already applies real-time intelligence amplification equivalent to over 450,000 craniums. Appropriate selection is how, exactly, your calls connect to the party you choose – picked and cleaned on the fly out of the zillions of signals beamed about at any instant of time.
The clinching feature of prevention engineering as the running benchmark of foreseeability is the ability to materialize prevention in action. That is, you can witness damage not happen. No act of faith is necessary to validate system performance. To the foresight engineer delivering prevention, the legacy of the historians is more constraint than illumination. Historians work up what did happen – failing to appreciate that what did happen was just as incredibly unlikely as what will happen in anyone’s particular future. Thereby the more valuable database of what did not happen is lost to the general store of knowledge. Engineering foresight now makes its own data bank of what will not happen and puts the knowledge to work. Prevention is interference with the catalog of future possibilities to remove the specified stuff from the inventory.
The before and after intercession exhibit, proactively demonstrating prevention, is simply running the clock forwards and backwards during the design basis events, which is how the prevention designer got to the goal in the first place. You watch prevention delivery unfold as the damage-generating scenario is repeated and before the trigger conditions are reached – preemption acts. You run the scenario with and without the prevention in service; before, during and after. This is part of the non-verbal “box” that stays with the project in various forms until system decommissioning. In litigation, the court gets to examine the standard of care embodied in “the box” by any means at its disposal.
While entropy increase is smoothly incessant, entropy reduction is cyclic. Cycles are governed by control theory (Maxwell, Shannon, Ashby) with every cycle generating a record. Since the engineer can now make the requisite inspection trips expeditiously by his own wit and effort, he holds any other course of design as patently absurd. Matter of fact has overtaken matters of imputation. Decontaminated of subjective elements, recursion takes the infinitely large complexity of appropriate selection and handles it as a rule of construction, in the manner of making fractals. The foresight engineer does not claim an error-free process. What is claimed is an infallible error removal system.
The democratization of intelligence amplification has led to many changes in how the design process is perceived. For thousands of years, the generic lament of the institution about foresight process was that the engineers entrusted to engage it never stopped tinkering with the design. The reason engineers held on, of course, was nagging uncertainty about future dynamics. Now that the engineer can run inspection trips into the relevant future, the hesitation impulse is erased. Once his design is dynamically validated fit for service, the engineer is anxious to release.
One public display of engineering foresight competency progress is the performance of the dozen or so hurricane track forecasting models. Every year improved simulations make better projections and the spread among models narrows. This improvement is directly proportional to the growth in available computational horsepower. The tangible results delivered in preventing damage to populations in harm’s way speak for themselves. If you can easily go forward in time to inspect what nature has in store for your alcove in the universe, you can intercede to encourage an outcome more congruent with your image.
The rapid expansion in foresight engineering competency has imploded the realm of unpreventable damage. While it remains impossible for the hindsight-centered attractor to engage intelligence amplification for directing institutional operations, there are no laws of nature that bar advances in the benchmark of foreseeability or limit the increase in “foreseeability” due diligence for delivering prevention in a pellucid package. Gorging at the grand buffet of intelligence amplification, engineers apply advances in computer power to design tasks as fast as advances emerge. Engineers don’t stop to wonder whatever happened to the torrid institutional love affair with artificial intelligence.
The foresight engineering process powered with immense intelligence amplification, while dedicated to the task of prevention design, automatically functions as a hotbed for sprouting upside opportunities. Downside and upside scenarios have always resided together in time forward. Being first to adventure into the future of unexpected dynamics means that the quest for prevention automatically provides opportunities to discover buried treasure. The discovery bonus of prevention design is how, exactly, the new cell phone functionalities you acquire come to be.
It is only by unexpectedness that knowledge can be increased and what is unexpected can be good as well as not so good. Adventuring along the computed threads of possible futures on inspection trips, what engineering foresight does, one invariably stumbles across all sorts of unexpected goodies. From the stakeholder’s perspective, there is no pecuniary difference between suffering preventable damage and suffering upside opportunities missed by the institution. It is significant that the law totally ignores stakeholder damage by opportunities lost. Since opportunity costs are equivalent and originate from the same hindsight regime, it exhibits a gross temporal bias in the law toward crisis response, what it does, at the expense of deterrence, what it preaches.
Several characteristics of the Great Transition have no precedent. For one, whereas the age of power amplification kicked off by Watt required large amounts of capital to realize, the full power of intelligence amplification is held by individuals using gear they can afford themselves. For the first time since 1800, the engineer does not have to obtain outsized capital goods sponsored and controlled by institutions to realize his innovations. This autonomous route to the consumer that bypasses institutional veto is heavily traveled now. Traffic over this bypass highway will increase as more engineers deploy the associated skills.
4 – The great competency expansion in foreseeability has elevated the prevention standard of care
Improvement proceeds under the generic process of cumulative change holding to a purpose. In the engineer’s quest to develop necessary prevention design knowledge, time must flow for what is hidden to be revealed. It is an unfolding process consistent with serviceability to human use. The technique is entirely accessible, its laws perfectly lucid, and the procedures within entirely subservient to the laws that describe them.
Prevention design engineering, empowered by intelligence amplification, has cleared some significant systemic hurdles. Designs for the future, especially those delivering prevention prophylactics, can now be executed without risk of failure to zero subjectivity, transparent benchmarks. Sans the Velcro of subjectivity, the situation at release is dramatically different. By virtue of the new level of foresight practice proficiency, it is dereliction of professional duty to employ conventional institutional process on issues that sprawl outside of hindsight’s scope. The law has not kept up with the innovations in method enabled by computer power.
A distinguishing difference between means and ends commitments is that the rituals and policies sacred to institutional ideology have no special value to foresight engineering. As the design engineer Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote about complexity, “How do I count thee? Let me love the ways.” The entropy-reduction practitioner cannot imagine using less than the most productive, effective practices available and they are constantly being improved. He has no personal stake in any procedure, including his current stable of favorites, and readily casts them aside as soon as better ones appear. What was commendable service a decade ago itself has become tortious.
The push to improve learning technique is unrelenting because it is of direct personal benefit to the goal-seeking practitioner. He is not graded on loyalty to a rule-set, but by progress towards the goal – two different things in kind. The discipline does not need to be encouraged to keep abreast of the best available technology. Here, the standard of care is not a median competency of the discipline, but one that travels with the leading edge.
The radical advance in foresight engineering competency is significant on many levels. With the vast proliferation of non-trivial issues confronting the league of nations, the complex of requisite decisions to be made escalates with time. Since all decisions are bound for the future, involving choices among images of the future according to some pattern of valuation, the capability to develop hard knowledge about future dynamics is crucial. The competency to investigate the future in high fidelity is a power parallel to that of atomic weaponry. Exactly like the designer of prevention, the Establishments that can make objective, future-informed decisions will endure. Today, reality imposes itself on knowledge much faster than institutions can accommodate. Thereby, the only way the institution can survive is to make choices using knowledge of the future aligned with reality.
The de facto competency of foresight engineering is no longer synchronized with the way law goes about establishing the foreseeability standard of care. The scrutable connectivity of the discipline benchmark to natural law, resulting in designs for prevention that are transparent and subjectivity-free, sets an ultimate standard of care. This standard is applied by practitioners contemporaneously with the foreknowledge that future retroactive audits can yield no other conclusion than foresight law was met. The central fact that inexorably erodes the ability of the institution to deal with disturbances is that the Second Law is ineluctable.
The evaluation process of law has always featured an objectivity gradient where the more objective is used to grade the more subjective. An auditing process with the reverse gradient is doomed from the start. Zero subjectivity, transparency, cannot be audited by a benchmark with any subjective element. Zero subjectivity deliverables of prevention cannot be betrayed by non-pellucid standards.
The competency surge revisits the venerable ethical issues concerning the professional duty to warn the unnecessarily endangered. As the law is now, the obligation of professional engineers to notify stakeholders of impending harm or harm in process is truncated by messaging to the same hierarchy causing the harm. One widely known example was played out in January 1986 by Roger Boisjolly frantically issuing warnings all night long to Thiokol management about impending booster seal failure on Challenger. The duty to warn stakeholders about breakthroughs in foreseeability practice is truncated at the judiciary. Back when delivering prevention was peppered with subjectivity, the mandated truncations were perceived as stakeholder-benign. Now that prevention is assured by exact knowledge, the antiquated truncations in the duty to warn stakeholders assume a different moral hue, especially with so many cases the size of Katrina on institutional plates.
In 2007 in Minnesota, the sudden collapse of an Interstate highway bridge over the Mississippi at evening rush hour is a deadly calamity. By morning of the following day, the news media is showing dynamic simulations of the failure mode that replicate the actual damage profile. It’s only a matter of time until the public questions why, if you can whip out a complicated accident reconstruction simulation in a few hours, don’t you check out the failure modes before building the structure, like before the damage occurs?
5 – The competencies of the foresight engineering process and those of institutional process are entirely complementary. Appropriate assignment according to the characteristics of the issue is fundamental to delivering prevention of foreseeable damage.
Foresight engineering parallels to hindsight include a super stable social system spontaneously forming an attractor. The two temporally focused processes, one by hindsight/means and one by foresight/ends, have complementary strengths available for full-coverage benefit to society. The dissimilar process systems meet without gaps at a match line set by the arrow of time. There is no territory common to both. Hindsight is marked adjacent to foresight by the immediate present while the arrow of time moves all demarcations forward.
Holding the sociosphere’s monopoly on subjectivity, the institution is foremost a container that engenders and supports irresolvable conflicts. When the engineering foresight process was still peppered with subjectivity, the design selection process depended upon the interpersonal skills of persuasion punctuated by the pulling of rank. With the institution incessantly in crisis response mode, the contest of prognostication against habit is usually decided by the decision demon going with the loudest shriek. For engineering foresight, the monopoly owned by the institution on subjective matters presents a third-rail condition – contact it bearing any sort of subjectivity Velcro and you’re burnt toast.
The institution has strong immediate reasons to assign every issue to itself and side step the triage procedure altogether. Why should hindsight risk yielding control of its vested interests to a “competitor” that flourishes outside of its jurisdiction armed with a turbocharged learning process? The information flood of foresight engineering eddies as a massive gravitational object, exerting great influence on everything in the enterprise. The virtuosity of engineering foresight erodes the illusion of omnipotence that institutions cherish and carefully husband, jamais vu, throughout society.
Because the adminisphere has controlled the sociosphere since Jericho, it naturally assumes the mantle of supremacy. As King by natural right, it considers the foresight process a contender for the administration throne. The foresight professional knows that the crux of hindsight/foresight is not a contest for the keys to the White House. There is no common ground on which to hold an election in any case. It is a difference in kind. Emulation reinforces hindsight. Making progress toward the goal stabilizes foresight.
The crux of the dilemma is allocating incoming challenge to respective process response using brute facts. Get the assignments of issue to attractor right and appropriate process systems will spontaneously form to see that the mission is accomplished. Hindsight for efficiency: foresight for prevention. As individuals, we seamlessly employ both schemes to remain viable. No system, metal or flesh, can sustain itself only by reacting to the vicissitudes of life. When within institutional borders, we suppress the foresight perspective. As soon as we leave the company parking lot, foresight consciousness springs back into service – so we can find our way home around the traffic.
Above all, faithful to natural law
Even though the passion is one-way, the professional entropy-reduction engineer has a personal relationship with his supreme commander, natural law. He knows his place in natural law as a votary of mathematical physics with a powerful instinct of workmanship. The English jurist William Blackstone in his 1765 “Commentaries” codified the supremacy of natural law, put to immediate use by Thomas Jefferson in composing the Declaration of Independence.
The laws of nature, being co-eval with mankind, are of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding all over the globe, in all countries, and at all times; no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force and all their authority, mediately and immediately, from this original.
The engineer into prevention delivery has the great curse/blessing gauntlet to run – right out of Indiana Jones. If he doesn’t perfectly leverage the laws of nature towards his goal, the law of all experience instantly punishes him. When he fails the natural law challenge, he is left with nothing but a bouquet of humiliations and no one to blame but himself. When he does get his natural law leveraging right, he need have no concern about antagonists. With indifferent natural law now the ultimate ally, all attempts to discredit his achievement will backfire. The foresight engineer molts into the anonymous cohort forever figuring things out – finally having figured things out.
The considerable dynamics intelligence accumulated is not shelved. It is embedded into the solution system control system, continuing to serve as a superb reference for self-regulation and self-adapting improvements during the life of the application. The second law is not defied. Local entropy reduction in the system of interest comes, as it must, at the cost of increasing entropy in the larger environment of which it is a part.
6 – The elevated, nominal professional standard of care for “foreseeability” due diligence engages the institution in a triage step, where issues are objectively allocated by the institution to the appropriate resolution process
The new requisite of triage in professional engineering due diligence signals the advent of the intelligent compliance era. Now there are appropriate-selection choices to be made. Before the power of intelligence amplification reached significant levels, institutional veto authority made promoting triage against the ideological grain pointless. Because foresight-engineering competency has so greatly expanded, the scope of prevention has expanded as defined by the standard of care. The law holds that stakeholder damage should be prevented simply because contemporaneous engineering design practice automatically embraces it. Today, the occurrence of stakeholder damage heralds another refugee of the limits of hindsight. Prevention failures causing damage cannot be reversed retroactively.
As tort law states “a duty owed to those whom should be reasonably in contemplation as likely to suffer damage as a result of acts of negligence committed prior to damage.” Because foresight engineering has come to an exact knowledge state, it is now prudent towards the ever-moving goal of preventing foreseeable damage to stakeholders, that triage be performed on all novel and complex issues confronting the institution. The unprecedented rate of competency advance leaves no quiet interval for progress to be conventionalized into a settled matter of common sense. The professional engineer must assume that retroactive compliance to foresight law will, one way or the other, have its day of reckoning.
Left to its natural inclinations, the institution invariably chooses contemporaneous compliance to hindsight law, as administered by regulatory agencies, and retroactive compliance to foresight law as administered by tort. Since foresight law calls for contemporaneous compliance in order to prevent damage, there are several significant economic penalties appended to retroactive compliance that compliance as-you-go does not have to pay.
Triage economics therefore exploits the difference between complying with foresight law contemporaneously, as conventionally done for hindsight law, and complying with foresight law retroactively after the damage is done. Since compliance to foresight law and efficient design are cut from the same process cloth, the advantage of intelligent compliance is an advantage for design. To the professional engineer, retroactive compliance to foresight law is not an option. Such would be a clear violation of the primary canons of professional conduct. Intelligent compliance today is a contemporaneous duty of the professional engineer advancing due diligence automatically in step with gains in engineering virtuosity.
In order to meet due diligence, the gatekeeper of “foreseeability” should align with the operational reality with a lag varied by the rate of competency expansion. He cannot formulate a benchmark archaic to contemporary practice indefinitely because the basic indices of prevention delivery have changed. Moore’s Law holds; prevention competency zooms. The sole source of the foreseeability competency standard is the Professional Engineer. Notification when it’s time for law to revisit the standard can only come from his personal initiative.
The thinking process to assemble a standard of care cannot be far offset, especially in kind, from that used by foresight engineers in the trenches. The engineer has earned his legitimacy and he knows the truth has that remarkable capacity that it cannot be found out. The legal system is operating with an image of the Standard of Care so far removed from reality it is in danger of being enslaved to its own ignorance. The line of inquiry, shared by engineer and judge, is not in making peer-reviewed guesses as to how the future disturbances might pan out. The inquiry today is about making the requisite inspection trips into the future specified upfront in the design basis events. For example, “Did you practice landings (simulator) with that aircraft on that airstrip under the specified crosswinds? At what crosswind vector did your landings consistently fail?” The convention of building a standard of care by testimony from experts is rendered obsolete by the release package itself.
It is well documented that for projects in retroactive compliance to foresight law, the fact of mismatch is widely known early on. The Big Dig in Boston, for example, blared out its horrendous destiny with waste and litigation from the outset. The purpose of triage is to avoid a mismatch, using objective benchmarks, before commitments to process reach the political point of no return. For projects that can never run out of money, mismatch multiplies project cost and time four fold or more.
By inserting a formal triage step to rationally divert the various issues to their appropriate process attractor, success is assured at the triage step. Matters impervious to hindsight are outsourced to engineering foresight. Triage begins compliance to the “foreseeability” standard of tort. Each process system ensconced in its own attractor is assigned matters for which its procedural recipe is proven effective and measurable as such – contemporaneously.
The fact that hindsight and foresight systems are each great attractors and form spontaneously means that incentives are meaningless once triage has been performed. Triage trumps the troublesome issue of as-you-go compliance. There are several benefits to nailing success at the outset. Traditional budget and reporting ceremonies, e.g., fall aside as pointless. Matchup maximizes cost effectiveness.
Since a scheme that cannot fail the elevated standard of care for delivering prevention is now, de facto, embraced by the engineering discipline, the legal benchmarks and encyclicals used by watchdogs and gatekeeper professionals ought to be aligned. The days when technology could be barred entry to a culture at will are long over. While aggressively unrecognized, we have reached a portentous watershed in human history.