There is something of an informal reasoning fallacy where you promote something that seems like something that we should "surely do", something that seems obviously important, but where we haven't thought through all of the steps involved and so we aren't actually justified in assuming that the impact flow through.
Here are some examples:
In each of these cases, the decision maker may not have chosen the same option if they'd taken the time to think it through and ask themselves if the benefits were likely to actually accrue.
Domain experience can be helpful to know that these kinds of issues are likely to crop up, but so is the habit of Murphyjitsu'ing your plans.
To be clear, I'm not intending to refer to the following ways in which things could go wrong:
(Please let me know if this fallacy already has a name or if you think you've thought of a better one.)
There's the old syllogism,
Not sure if there's a snappy name for it
Snappy British sitcom clip:
Related effects referred to under the headings of lost purposes and principle agent problems.
I think lots of people would say that all three examples you gave are more about signalling than about genuinely attempting to accomplish a goal.
I wouldn’t say that. Signalling the way you seem to have used it implies deception on their part, but each of these instances could just be a skill issue on their end, an inability to construct the right causal graph with sufficient resolution.
For what it’s worth whatever this pattern is pointing at also applies to how wrongly most of us got the AI box problem, i.e., that some humans by default would just let the damn thing out without needing to be persuaded.
How would one even distinguish between those who don't actually care about solving the problem and only want to signal that they care, and those who care but are too stupid to realize that intent is not magic? I believe that both do exist in the real world.
I would probably start charitably assuming stupidity, and try to explain. If the explanations keep failing mysteriously, I would gradually update towards not wanting to actually achieve the declared goal.
Sounds similar to fabricated options.