Bias at Work

Published by Lex on

Human biases are a tool to help us make  decisions in the face of multiple inputs. There is so much information coming at us at all times, that our biases are the only way to process this information.

Bias plays out every second of every day in every human activity.  Multiple forms of bias are wired into the human operating system.

There are different types of bias and some are more wrong-headed than others, but bias is a part of the human operating system. While it may not be a feature, it is definitely a byproduct.

Overcoming harmful bias while still gaining the benefits of our bias is very challenging. Bias has a built-in positive reinforcement cycle that is difficult to break.

It may be theoretically possible to isolate particular damaging biases while letting the other “productive” bias remain. However, bias works as a part of a bigger cognitive system so a precision strike on only the “bad” biases is likely to leave unknown collateral damage.

The bias of the human operating system is with us at every phase of life. The biases are important to how we perceive information therefore they are a part of how we make decisions even if it is completely unconscious.

The thing about individual bias is that it easily becomes collective bias. The collective bias gets embedded into just about everywhere. It is encoded into policy and systems and it is largely invisible.

Bias is not always a bad thing. It frequently serves humans quite well, but it is worth remembering that some bias somewhere is clouding our judgement and preventing us from seeing clearly