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Anticipatory alert

July 17, 2014

I had a key meeting with a Singapore government agency today, in part to report on a SenseMaker® project and also to talk about next steps.   Now I need to respect client confidentiality here so I can't be specific but I do want to make a general point on how to achieve change if you are dealing with potential transgressors.  This also links in with some more general work I am doing on what I am calling anticipatory audit.   Now this is not the big brother type surveillance of which my namesake claims concern, not is it the science fiction of Minority Report.  It means something different, namely having the sensor mechanisms in place to understand when the plausibility (not the possibility or the probability) is such that attention needs to be paid. 

Anticipatory awareness is a key aspect of working with complexity.  It means not trying to forecast the future, but instead to trigger humans into a heightened state of awareness when they need to pay attention.  So to take examples from our planned research programmes: making social workers aware when they need to stay in a home and ask more questions or triggering Doctors to check again before discharging a patient.  In law enforcement (both civil and criminal) it means moving enforcement into the system before it is needed not after bad things have happened.   One project I did in New Zealand years ago involved giving professional associations help in accounting and tax planning as our sensor mechanisms indicated that peer pressure was more important than fear of being caught.   There are others as well.  Community policing does this by creating a presence, a possibility of detection that acts as a deterrence; the problem is that doesn't turn up in the crime statistics although it does in the common sense of communities,

A brief posting, but an important one,  It is one of the more interesting areas of thinking forwards and is part of the humans at the front, humans at the end mantra I espouse when talking about the limits of Big Data.  

The picture is ironic by the way, and you probably have to be my age to even get it

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