Human incapacity to respond to computer-generated decisions
Vulnerability of human systems to high-speed computer communications Shortage of time for human response to high technology systems
In 1994 it was reported that in the USA the speed of electronic tax returns on the recently installed computer system of the Internal Revenue Service had resulted in a wave of fraud costing $24 million in 1993. False filing more than doubled in that year. Because refunds had been considerably expedited, there was little time to investigate and block fraudulent requests for refunds.
Experts now recognize that global financial transactions may be too fast and too complex for senior bank managers to understand. The transition to split-second, electronic systems from manual, paper-based systems has placed the world financial system at risk with the consequent serious implications for world markets. Technological developments have accelerated the rapidity with which payments are made and securities are transferred binding financial markets into a more interdependent mode. To the extent that control is given to computer programmes, there is then increasing potential for destabilization resulting from massive currency transactions.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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