Part 2: Is This Health and Safety Theater?
Health and safety theater is defined as solutions put in place to make us feel safer without actually increasing our health and safety. This is in reference to a conversation I had with a friend who pointed me to an article from 2009 called “Beyond Security Theater.” And it made me think.
I hope how our industry is engaging with health, in a way that when we look back it will not be labeled as “theater.” I believe the majority of the people in our industry do what we do because we value keeping people safe. It is in most of the value statements of the companies we work for and it is in the blood of most of the people in our industry. I do, however, believe we are entering into new powder and if we do not spark a conversation and think through implementation, messaging, liability, and “what ifs,” we run the risk of getting this wrong or miss circumstances that could have been avoided (eg. Facebook and privacy). So I bring this up as a call to action (err...cry for help?) to raise your hand, your voice, and bring people together to discuss the details beyond technical specifications. I think we all value the sense of safety and security. I also think that the sense of health and safety is equally as important as the properly implemented safety and security measures. We just need both.
I do fear, for a lot of reasons, including the speed of which we need to deliver these solutions to the market, that the critical thinking around true value creation or the entire story, will not be given the proper attention that is needed if we do not do it in parallel, in the open and purposefully. It also needs to be as a community.
- Biometrics, thermal cameras and “fever” detection is not just a technical solution or used to be a sense of being safe. We need to think about how and where they get deployed.
- We need to think about whether or not the solutions create threats to personal safety, privacy, or impact those already at the margins.
- Have we thought about the “ok, then what” scenarios. For instance, we are starting to see mainstream conversation around how people are treated when a thermal reading comes back positive. So, what happens next? Do they have to go sit in the penalty box?
- Also, what about false positives? What do we do then?
This is just some examples off the top of my head. I am sure there are a bunch more.
There are examples around the world of countries who have started to get back to public settings. What can we learn from them? What can we do differently?
Currently it is the the wild west. It would be advantageous for the community to create a broad conversation and response.