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All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines - Nicholas Carr

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 captain, Marvin Renslow, manned the controls briefly during takeoff, guiding the Bombardier Q400 turboprop into the air, then switched on the autopilot and let the software do the flying. 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. And that, many aviation and automation experts have concluded, is a problem. The experience of airlines should give us pause. Doctors use computers to make diagnoses and to perform surgery.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/11/the-great-forgetting/309516/

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