Thursday, June 26, 2014

Is Malaysian Airliner still up there on autopilot?

The Australian government has decided the Malaysian Airliner was still on autopilot when it disappeared. Was it this century’s “Flying Dutchman” or the second warning this week that technology is now the master, and doesn’t have to explain what it is doing.

Is humanity paying the cost of handing over too much control to computers?

Australia says the plane crashed. "I still think the plane may land on some island or land, there is still some hope for our relatives," Beijing businessman Liu Weije said Thursday.

It clearly will be a Wagnerian task to sort this all out, and it won’t be over until the fat lady sings.

In opera, the Flying Dutchman has been condemned to circle the seas forever because he tempted fate when he condemned God’s storms around the Cape of Good Hope. Unfortunately the Devil heard him. Now he is allowed to land once every seven years to look for a beautiful woman who will relieve him of his endless chore, pledging her faith.

Australian officials, during a visit Thursday to
Beijing, released a 64-page report on their findings.

Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, told a news conference in Canberra that "certainly for its path across the Indian Ocean, we are confident that the aircraft was operating on autopilot until it ran out of fuel." There was no word on when the autopilot was engaged.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced this week that the crew of an Asiana jet that crashed into an airport seawall in San Francisco on July 6, 2013, was still using automated controls even as it was near the ground during landing.

"The flight crew over-relied on automated systems that they did not fully understand," acting NTSB chairman Christopher Hart said. in "As a result, they flew the aircraft too low and too slow and collided with the seawall at the end of the runway."

The world likely will never know but it would be the height of irony if there was no hijacking, attempted hijacking or any untoward crew activity of any kind. Could it have been simply that the plane’s computer systems were too complicated for mere man?

English scientist Stephen Hawking this month warned HBO comedy show host John Oliver that artificial intelligence had gone too far.

He told Oliver computers can no longer be defeated because they are as smart as man.

Hawking said the first question scientists asked an intelligent computer they had built: “Is there a God?” The computer replied, “There is now,” then a bolt of lightning struck the plug so it couldn’t be turned off.


USA Today

1 comment:

  1. It should be required reading that everyone read science fiction. That way you learn about these nightmares ahead of their reality.