Blog Post 8: Automation in Airplanes

Stasis theory is a form of pre-writing. There are four steps: facts, definition, quality and policy. First the facts are discussed. Next the meaning of the topic is explained. Following the definition comes the discussion of the seriousness of the issue. Finally the plan of action surrounding the topic is discussed. “Airlines and plane manufacturers, as well as government and military aviation agencies, have been particularly aggressive and especially ingenious in finding ways to shift work from people to machines” (46). The fact is automation is becoming more pronounced in society and especially in the field of aviation. This is becoming a serious issue. Should airplanes be more automated and eliminate the need of pilots? “And because a single mistake in a cockpit can cost scores of lives and many millions of dollars, a great deal of private and public money has gone into funding psychological and behavioral research on automation’s effects” (46). Pilots take on a lot of responsibility of keeping all the passengers safe during each and every flight. With the increase in automation in planes, more and more pilots are making mistakes when the automation systems fail. Many crashes have occurred and resulted in death after the plane’s automation systems fail and the pilots have no “ ‘ situational awareness’ “ of what to do in that situation (45). With all the advancements in technology dealing with planes, pilots now are only flying the plane about 3-4 minutes each trip. Due to the lack of actual time pilots are spending flying the planes, when an emergency situation occurs pilots are panicking because there skills have faded away. The more time a person spends not using any particular skills the more that skill will fade away. “The commercial pilot has become a computer operator. And that, many aviation and automation experts have come to believe, is a problem” (53). Technology is now acting more as the pilot of the plane than the actual pilot is. This is causing the pilots to not know how to properly act when the automation systems fail. As a result, many lives have been lost because pilots did not react to a loss in the automation systems in the correct way. Carr is trying to persuade the audience into thinking automation is not always a good thing. The over reliance on technology can in fact cause under reaction from humans when the technology fails. Carr uses the metaphor of automation in airplanes to discuss the seriousness of automation taking over in today’s society. Carr also uses pathos to tap into the audiences’ emotions. Almost everyone travels on a plane at least once in there lifetime. With the plane crash examples Carr uses in his article he is tapping into the audiences’ emotions. Carr also tries to reverse the audiences’ logos or shared opinions about technology by persuading them to believe automation is more bad than good. Carr is writing to an audience that consists of anyone who is skeptical of the new advancements in technology. He is also writing to anyone who believes the new advancements in technology are a good thing. He is trying to persuade them otherwise. Carr is writing about technology because it is such a relevant and controversial topic in today’s society.


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