Kahneman on overuse of "bias"

Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for his role in the development of behavioural economics -looking at how people can think in ways that we might not think of as rational in some sense. Despite this one thing I find interesting about him is that he now thinks that we overemphasize bias:

Mr. Kahneman: ... we very much overuse the term “bias.” When I started my career, you mentioned the word “error,” and the association would be “random” or “motivated” or “Freudian” error. 50, 60 years ago, that’s how people thought about error. Now you mention error, people are very likely to say, “What’s the bias that caused it?” But in fact, it need not be a bias. A lot of error is random, and there is a radical underestimation of the amount of random error in people’s thinking, and I would like to restore the balance because I think our work, Tversky’s and mine, was, in a sense, too influential. It led people to exaggerate the importance of bias in human affairs and in human thinking, but there are many other ways in which people go wrong than biases.

Ms. Tippett: And I suppose you’re suggesting, also, that if we took that in, that just that distinction would make us just that much — that “random” is not always motivated and malicious. Do you feel like the word “bias” is so much more charged, and that it charges things on top of…?

Mr. Kahneman: Certainly, that’s the case, but also, the fascinating thing about random error, what I call noise, is that it’s invisible, that we’re not aware of it.

Source: An interview for 'On Being'