Unfortunately, there are two aspects of modern society that throw this all out of whack. The first is technology. Our security intuition evolved in a world where nothing ever changed. Fear of the new made a lot of sense in that kind of world. But the pace of today's technology means that things change all the time. Look at the Internet: every week there's a new attack tool, a new vulnerability, a new danger. Every year your computer and networks change in some radical way. Technology means that your car, your house, and your bank accounts all have features that they didn't have ten years ago, and people simply don't have the detailed expertise to make sensible security trade-offs about them.
The second problem is the media. Modern mass media has degraded our sense of natural risk, by magnifying the rare and spectacular and downplaying the common and ordinary. If we're wired to make our security trade-offs based on our sensory inputs, media gives us a wildly skewed view of the world. It's why people fear airplane crashes and not car crashes, even though the risk from the latter is considerably higher.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Bruce himself pointed to an interview he made. A great quote: