The crashes of the Boeing 737s in Indonesia and Ethiopa have focused attention on the complexity of today’s airliners. How is it possible that a computer can over-ride a human? Trump’s tweet on the subject is possibly the first time I’ve ever agreed with him, and has led to all 737s being grounded. I don’t doubt that at some point the pilots of the two downed aircraft (Indonesian? Ethiopan?) will be blamed, at least for being poorly trained (i.e. not up to our standards).
It seems Trump also tweeted about unnecessary developments in technology which nobody really needs. He is, of course a generational reactionary – even though he tweets to his heart’s content. Doesn’t he know what social media is doing – unnecessarily – to society? The name for this phenomenon is creative destruction, which capitalism relies upon to generate profit, it is akin to the Shock Doctrine technique in many regards. And anybody who uses the latest tech is drawn into the never ending vicious circle of upgrading for fear of becoming an outcast.
Now I’m considering buying a new mobile phone because my current model, which I think I bought maybe seven or eight years ago has developed a ‘fault.’ But how do I know it’s a fault? How could I possibly know, since what goes on inside a mobile phone is a mystery to me and for that matter 99.9% of the world’s population (and probably more than that)? Apple were caught out deliberately making their older model i-phones useless. And I feel sorry for people who believe that Alexas are the latest must have. One day it is certain that their lives will be disrupted by this – what? Time saver? Convenience? Eventual partner? I sincerely hope my driving days will be over before driverless cars hit the road. I hope they are kept out of pedestrianised areas – but if they are deemed safe why should they be excluded? Somebody will no doubt argue that they’ll be no more dangerous than mobility scooters.
The politics of this stuff, stemming from the 737 crashes is explored in an excellent blog by Louis Proyect, here.