All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines - Nicholas Carr
We rely on computers to fly our planes, find our cancers, design our buildings, audit our businesses. That's all well and good. But what happens when the computer fails? On the evening of February 12, 2009, a Continental Connection commuter flight made its way through blustery weather between Newark, New Jersey, and Buffalo, New York. As is typical of commercial flights today, the pilots didn’t have all that much to do during the hour-long trip. The crash, which killed all 49 people on board as well as one person on the ground, should never have happened. The Buffalo crash was not an isolated incident. The first automatic pilot, dubbed a “metal airman” in a 1930 Popular Science article, consisted of two gyroscopes, one mounted horizontally, the other vertically, that were connected to a plane’s controls and powered by a wind-driven generator behind the propeller. And that, many aviation and automation experts have concluded, is a problem. Who needs humans, anyway?