Get Humans Out of the Cockpit
Holman Jenkins thinks transportation ought to be automated
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jul 10, 2013 1:55 PM CDT
Two pilots sit in a Boeing 787 simulator in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(Newser) – When a highly automated train crashed into a Quebec town last weekend, its conductor was not on board. Which raises a few questions, writes Holman Jenkins at the Wall Street Journal. Why couldn't the train tell headquarters it had taken off? Why couldn't headquarters stop it from afar? And most fundamentally, "Why does a train need an operator?" The same question came to mind in the Asiana crash, in which human pilots appear to have been relying on a system that was down at the time.

Humans pilots are losing a dangerous amount of skill as they rely on the computers, and "operating a train, a plane or a car is arguably becoming a poor use of human capital anyway." Yes, unemployment is high now, but as our population ages, we'll soon have a workforce crunch. Fully automated transportation is necessary, and seemingly inevitable with Google already advancing self-driving cars. "If computers ever get the vote, they will quickly vote the rest of us off the road as the major hazard to their safely zooming around." Click for the full column.

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
RC_Reader
Jul 16, 2013 5:23 PM CDT
It's never gonna fly!
Scott603
Jul 11, 2013 11:01 PM CDT
I can see it now... robots replace flight attendants, and the Singapore Airline robot fetches you a gourmet meal and suggests a nice wine pairing, while the Delta Airlines robot threatens to throw you off the plane, duct tapes you to your seat, and then throws coffee in your face.
YetAnotherCollegeKid
Jul 11, 2013 7:03 PM CDT
Are you kidding, Jenkins? So your solution to electronic systems failing is to... put those systems in control of everything? Is this a joke?