Saturday, 3 June 2006

Statistical Accountability

We're surrounded my statistics of deceit all around us. 99% fat free! $999 laptop! Mouse with a 99999 click warranty! Book in by 2359h! As we progress and the needs for responsibilty and accountability increase and invariably blend, we get a whole load of figures that are either promised to us, presented to us to attract us, or given to us to abide by. It's obvious that a statistic like 99% fat-free isn't true, but it strives to tell us that while they can try to make their products fat-free, they can't guarantee perfection. How many times we click a mouse is definitely an impractical statistic to keep track of, and nobody will ever know or bother to find out what happens if we do indeed click the mouse 100000 times or more. But with a figure like that, we are, either knowingly or unknowingly, reassured of the reliability of the mouse. And nobody's ever going to wait til 2359h just to book in to prove that it's within the boundaries of the regulations of the army.

Almost every expectation is met with a preset, designated statistic so that the same number can be reused over and over again within anticipated limits. Just so that something can be accounted for when the day comes where the need arises for the system to be verified, and that everyone's ass is covered (Bimbo screams, "I got fat eating your yoghurt!" Spokesman says, "honey, we never said it was entirely fat-free!"). Kinda makes the system for accountability quite a redundancy.