Metrorail Crash, Automation

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Vedantam, Shankar. "Metrorail Crash May Exemplify Automation Paradox." Washington Post, Monday, 29 June 2009. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/28/AR2009062802481.html?nav=igoogle>.

On the Washington, DC, Metrorail crash of 22 June 2009. Notes that "Automated systems are often designed to relieve humans of tasks that are repetitive. When such algorithms become sophisticated, however, humans start to relate to them as if they were fellow human beings. The autopilot on a plane, the cruise control on a car and automated speed-control systems in mass transit are conveniences. But without exception, they can become crutches. The more reliable the system, the more likely it is that humans in charge will 'switch off' and lose their concentration, and the greater the likelihood that a confluence of unexpected factors that stymie the algorithm will produce catastrophe." Last paragraph explicitly uses the phrase, "human-machine relationships."


9. BACK, RDE, 29/VI/09