Blog Post 8 Autopilot

Carr’s argument about automation generally seems to point out how automation changes the value of our lives.  In his first two examples of the aircraft’s, he demonstrates how lives can be taken from us with mistakes arguably caused by automation and lack of monitoring from the people in charge of running the automation.  He points out that once the pilot realized that the plane was stalling during the Buffalo crash he “did precisely the wrong thing” which may have occurred because he wasn’t mentally aware enough of what was going on in the flight and reacted poorly when he realized something was wrong.  The crash could have been prevented Carr states, “ the crash which killed all forty-nine people onboard as well as one on the ground should not have happened,” which touches on policy.  It leads us to question whose fault should it be then if it could have been prevented.  Colgan Air points out that the “pilot’s lack ‘situational awareness’” which led to the crash.  Carr mentions how tool that aid flight in the first commercial planes will become unnecessary but pilots will most likely still be needed.   Carr says “they became part of the machine” and only control the plane manually for a total of three minutes.  He also states  “premature death was a routine occupational hazard for aviation’s early years” and we “called on the government” to regulate the aircraft.  He points out how a “‘new type of accident’” occurs because now the pilots are unable to control and keep the plane safe when automation fails because when they rely on automation it weakens their skills.  Carr uses ethos by naming a lot of professionals, pilots, and experts such as when he talks about Mathew Ebbatson’s, “a young human-factors researcher at Cranfeild university, a top UK engineering school,” study on a pilot taking over when the automatic system failed.  He talks about how NASA removes flight control for their space crafts.  He also uses statistics when he talks about how accidents were ⅔ pilot error, ¾ skills had deteriorated skills.  He appeals to pathos when he talks about how pilot speak about their relationship “autobiographly” trying to prove their skill set is valuable.   He says the relationship of the computer and pilot is “blurring.”  He concludes with “glass cockpit can also be a glass cage” which causes us to think about how we use automation.  Who is the slave and who is the master?


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