Why did the plane crashed in San Francisco?

I was sitting at my computer formulating the differences between economics and behavioral economics in preparation for my presentation in Rome next January 24 – when the plane crashed. My immediate intuitive reaction was sadness that there was no “behavioral aviation” system in place that could have prevented this air disaster. You see, the 2008 recession gave birth to a new behavioral economics system laden with psychological insight that could have prevented the bankers from selling fake mortgages causing the 2008 recession. Ones, in a paper I predicted that one day at the end of the 21st century humanity will have a behavioral politics too, but I never thought about behavioral aviation – the use of psychology to prevent air disasters.

The San Francisco air disaster is easy to explain (although the experts won’t get it without new schooling). It is called in psychology a “Risky shift,” a classic case when 3 experienced pilots are in one cockpit and each rely on the other two for flight information (conversations). Thus, each of these experienced pilots enters the subconscious mode of risk elevation cause by distraction or desire to please –  the attention to the other two pilots. Did you ever drive your car with your wife as a back seat driver? It’s a ‘risky shift.” In a future behavioral avionics system, there will be only two pilot in place and have clear roles to play, never equal! Oh, how I wish behavioral aviation was here today, to save lives, but, ladies and gentlemen, history is more insightful  than a committee of aviation officials!


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