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Did I Ever Tell You about the Whale?: or Measuring Technology Maturity Broché – 1 novembre 2008
Détails sur le produit
- Éditeur : Information Age Publishing (1 novembre 2008)
- Langue : Anglais
- Broché : 216 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1593119631
- ISBN-13 : 978-1593119638
- Poids de l'article : 318 g
- Dimensions : 15.6 x 1.24 x 23.39 cm
- Commentaires client :
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For the most part though the book gives a purely descriptive overview of what is done, along with an introduction to the `TRL calculator', which was developed by the author and which is publicly available. Needless to say the problem of technology assessment is a very difficult one, mostly because it has to deal with situations that have not been encountered before. This type of dilemma is of course the nature of technological innovation, and the dizzying rate of technological innovation in this century is producing an enormity of uncertainty.
The author gives a rudimentary classification of uncertainty early on in the book, dividing it up into four different types according to the degree of variability and experience. Managers of high-technology projects are used to dealing with the first type, wherein small perturbations accumulate at a level that cannot be controlled but can be accounted for. The author labels the second type as "foreseen" uncertainty, which covers situations that have been experienced before, which as expected is to be contrasted with "unforeseen" uncertainty, wherein there is no such experience. The last type is referred to as "chaotic", which the author describes as the situation where unforeseen uncertainty dominates. This designation is a bit troubling to those readers with a background in studying chaos in dynamical systems, wherein the idea is to view chaos as quantifying the notion of instability or sensitive dependence on initial conditions. This is very different that the notion of chaos as being a measure of lack of information or uncertainty as the author defines it.
The shape of the chart that illustrates the utility of a particular technology varies with time has the "whale" shape that gives this book its title. It is easy to accept qualitatively that the utility curve would have this shape, and there are many other contexts where acceptance of a particular relation between variables is based on intuition or visual impact. One example is from reliability theory with the famous "bathtub curve" which illustrates the number of failures of a system as a function of time. The assignment of technological readiness levels (TRLs) of course comes early on in the whale chart, with an assignment of 9 justifying the move to actual production/manufacturing. After that the person/group responsible for assigning TRLs is out of the picture.
For the mathematically-inclined reader, the most interesting part of the book will actually be the appendix entitled "Variation and Risk in Science and Technology" wherein the author discusses various techniques for estimating variability. The connection of risk with variability has been heavily criticized recently, due in part to the "financial crisis", where critics blame confidence in so-called "value-at-risk" (VAR) models for instigating the crisis. The author is aware of this criticism (referencing the "black swan" debates) and gives the reader a quick overview of how to deal with variability, one technique interestingly involving Bayesian statistics. For this reviewer, this inclusion was important, and it brings out the fact that in general humans are poor Bayesian reasoners. Along these same lines perhaps an approach to technology maturity assessment would be one that followed the conceptual framework of "judgment under uncertainty" as outlined and popularized by Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky. This would definitely be an interesting and important research project for anyone working in the field of technology assessment.