Can a seafarer be persuaded to never ever, ever engage in unsafe behavior?

Let me rephrase… can a person be persuaded to ignore his basic most elemental instincts?

A third-grade teacher - Jane Elliot, shook the world with her blue eyes/brown eyes experiment. She persuaded her class that children with blue eyes were superior and more intelligent than children with brown eyes. 

This caused an almost dramatic improvement in the academic performances of the blue-eyed kids and a shocking decline in the performance of the brown-eyed kids.

Where it gets interesting is how she later claimed that exactly the inverse was true – brown-eyed kids were smarter than blue-eyed kids.

This resulted in the brown-eyed children making a marked scholastic improvement and the blue-eyed ones making a stunning decline (from their previously remarkable ascent).

Now, of course, these were children. Adults could never be this susceptible…

Or could they?

The Stanford prison experiment (made into not one but two highly rated Hollywood blockbusters) performs a study on a group of willing adults which turns into sadomasochistic pandemonium that ensnares even the Professor conducting the experiment.

Various other experiments have been conducted in the study of persuasion, in sometimes the subtlest of forms can shift the standard pattern of human behavior (the Elevator Conformity experiment, the Milgram experiment among others).

This power of persuasion is very much part of our daily lives. Seatbelts, kid´s car seats, biking helmets, knee pads, obedience to traffic lights… these are just some of the safety measures that are an integral part of our daily life.

This brings us to the crux of this subject. Does such a thing as Persuasive Technology exist? Does Persuasive Safety exist? The Shipping industry is one that is plagued by high turnover rates. What would it be worth to a Health and Safety Manager for a new employee joining a ship to automatically don his Personal Protective Equipment and engage in Safety briefings? Not because he is told to but because it is just an ingrained part of the culture, he is suddenly exposed to.

Could on-board Software, through the mere power of suggestion persuade seafarers to behave safely?

An intense amount of research has been devoted to the power of Persuasive Technology, and the results have been nothing short of sensational.

One such software managed a 60% reduction of lost time incidents. The number of serious incidents were reduced from 100 to just 40 in the same time span.

SOLAS, MARPOL, STCW and dozens of other conventions have played a monumental role in making shipping safe. However, accident rates have plateaued in the last few years. Safety posters are as omnipresent as Internet pop-ups. They are ignored just as easily and are only slightly less annoying.

The next Safety revolution is in the way of Persuasive Technology!

This much is clear to see… irrespective of whether you are brown eyed or blue eyed!

About Nautix Technologies

Nautix Technologies is a modern maritime software company that provides next-generation SaaS products to ship owners and technical managers. Contact us to find out more.