Should We Prevent Human Error?

brainscan“From spilling a cup of coffee to failing to notice a stop sign, everyone makes an occasional error due to lack of attention. Now a team led by a researcher at the University of California, Davis, in collaboration with the Donders Institute in the Netherlands, has found a distinct electric signature in the brain which predicts that such an error is about to be made.”

“Practical applications could include a wireless EEG deployed at an air traffic controller’s station to trigger an alert when it senses that alpha activity is beginning to regularly exceed a certain level.”


What would you tell people to do if you knew they were doomed to mess up? Slow down? Meditate? Would the alert of a looming misstep quicken their failure?

In games, mistakes are the only way to learn. In fact the act of “scaffolding,” learning how to operate within a new system through trial and error, is the often the most enjoyable part.

I say leave people alone when mistakes have no consequences (games), but tell brain surgeons if they’re about to slip.

Where do you see the line being drawn?