Blog Post #8

The claim that is being made is that automation isn’t necessarily a good thing. Carr starts the chapter by telling of tragic events in which autopilot in planes was disengaged, and the pilots were not able to properly control the situation. Carr states that “the pilots seemed to lack ‘situational awareness’” (Carr 45). These stories are the fact portion of stasis theory. Carr shows the value of technology when he talks about how unreliable it is. By saying “a single mistake can cost scores of lives and millions of dollars” (Carr 46), he is questioning whether this technology is worth the risk. The exact problem is that automation is overtaking everything, and even “’the role of the pilot has shifted toward becoming a monitor or supervisor of the automation’” (Carr 53) and that “the commercial pilot has become a computer operator” (Carr 53). Also, pilots are losing their ability to know how to handle situations when autopilot fails. They are “’forgetting how to fly’” (Carr 58). The rhetorical situation is that autopilot is making the job of being a well-trained pilot unneeded. And because of this, pilots don’t have the proper experience to handle dangerous situations that autopilot can’t. Carr is trying to show that some things, such as air travel, should not be automated. He says that autopilot is the “blurring of what it means to be a pilot” (Carr 62). It’s not even that pilots don’t need any skills. They still need to have the same training and skills, but the skills are used in a completely different way. They are being used “from a distance” (Carr 62). At the end of the chapter, Carr discusses how the glass cockpit “can be thought of as a prototype of a world where ‘there is computer functionality everywhere’” (Carr 63). This shows that automation is everywhere around us, and there’s nothing stopping it from being involved in airplanes as well. He mentions that we have “an erosion of skills, a dulling of perceptions, and a slowing of reactions” (Carr 63) which should worry us, especially when other people’s lives are in a pilot’s hands. He then leaves us pondering the final statement that “a glass cockpit can also be a glass cage” (Carr 63).


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