November 29 , 2006. 3:00-4:30pm. Porter Hall 223D, Carnegie Mellon University

Speech Deposit System as an Incentive for Specialists to Maintain Honesty and Integrity

Presenter: Hideki Kakeya, University of Tsukuba

Abstract: The speaker introduces the idea of guaranteeing payback of the profit obtained by press and speech when the description turns out to be wrong in the future. Historically engineering has mainly dealt with phenomena which can soon be checked and confirmed by others. In modern engineering, which deals with huge and complicated systems, however, predictions by engineers cannot be reconfirmed soon by others. For example, safety of data network systems or genetically modified organisms predicted by specialists can only be confirmed after a long period of time. Though this is a matter of imperfection of knowledge, some specialists misuse this uncertainty to obtain profits or to attain political goals by stating that things scarcely/highly probable can happen with a high/low probability. To give specialists incentives for honesty and integrity, the speaker has established an NPO which runs a deposit system where specialists owe liability for their wrong predictions. Since this is a voluntary system, it does not interfere with free speech. Yet people can use the label of speech deposit to measure the reliability of the predictions. The speaker explains the details of this project and its current status in Japan.