An anonymous reader writes: Bruce Schneier has written an article about how our society is becoming increasingly averse to risk as we invent technological solutions to it. 'Risk tolerance is both cultural and dependent on the environment around us. As we have advanced technologically as a society, we have reduced many of the risks that have been with us for millennia. Fatal childhood diseases are things of the past, many adult diseases are curable, accidents are rarer and more survivable, buildings collapse less often, death by violence has declined considerably, and so on. All over the world — among the wealthier of us who live in peaceful Western countries — our lives have become safer.' This has led us to overestimate both the level of risk from unlikely events and also our ability to curtail it. Thus, trillions of dollars are spent and vital liberties are lost in misguided efforts to make us safer. 'We need to relearn how to recognize the trade-offs that come from risk management, especially risk from our fellow human beings. We need to relearn how to accept risk, and even embrace it, as essential to human progress and our free society. The more we expect technology to protect us from people in the same way it protects us from nature, the more we will sacrifice the very values of our society in futile attempts to achieve this security.'
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