Thursday, 10 October 2013

Hot Spot in cricket, and the decline of intelligence


The Hot Spot technology has been removed from the forthcoming 'Ashes' Test Match series between Australia and England.

Because the Umpires are apparently cognitively incapable of understanding the concept of False Negative results.


In a nutshell, If Hot Spot DOES shows a hot spot on the bat when the ball passes, then the ball HAS hit the bat. This is useful.

But if there is NO Hot Sport when the ball passes the bat, then the ball may have HIT the bat, but failed to register.

In other words, there are no False Positives, but there are False Negatives - so Hot Spot can be used to overturn a not-out decision, but not an out decision.


However, the Umpires have been using Hot Spot as if it was always correct, and the failure to show a Hot Spot has been assumed to mean not out, even when the Umpire has heard a sound and the batsman is already given out.

And the Umpires won't stop doing this!


It seems the Umpires simply lack the applied intelligence to understand the concept of a technology which does have False Negatives, but not False Positives - and so the technology has had to be removed.

I think we will be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing in the future - potentially useful technology which in practice cannot be used because the relevant responsible people can't understand it.


(Disease screening - e.g. for breast or prostate cancer, runs into similar problems but with False Positives.)


Note: I used to blog a fair bit about cricket - here:

but haven't had much to say recently.