Handing Over Our Autonomy to Machines Makes Us Complacent, Study Says

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05/18/2010 12:02 PM |

The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.
  • The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

Autopilot—you know, the automated guidance system named after a passive, zoned-out mental state—is the subject of renewed attention in the aviation industry, the Times reports, following a recent incident in which a plane overshot its destination by 150 miles, and a 2008 report about instances of dangerously neglectful flying.

“Automation is generally considered a positive development in aviation safety because it reduces pilot workload and eliminates errors in calculation and navigation,” the article states, but notes that pilots and scientists are wrangling over the question: How much automation is too much? Are we approaching a state of mechanized atrophy like on the space station in the Oscar-winning documentary film Wall-E? Are the machines winning?!?