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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tammara Combs

Man vs Machines

As we continue to move forward with Artificial Intelligence and technology, we see the errors with the movement as well. There are many industries that are seeing the benefits and negatives of the technology. Let’s look at a few.

Do you have the latest cell phone? 15+ years ago society was excited to have cell phones become more accessible and convenient. When Samsung had problems with their batteries overheating and catching fire we were upset. But more so, we were impatient for the batteries to be fixed so we could move on and have a great phone.

Maybe you have a business meeting and need to catch a flight? With Boeing 737 auto pilots we see the Ai taking over and we are programming the computers to take over and not allowing man to step and overrule when needed. We have all had to call on our IT guys at some point to update or "fix" a computer error. Airplanes are not any different. If we take away the ability for man to see an error and make corrections, are we really enhancing our digital capabilities or are we giving away our responsibilities?

“It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk … We own it, and we know how to do it.", Muilenberg said in a video message in April. In the investigations that have taken place so far, they all agree the pilots and crew did everything correctly. They tried to override the system as they knew it was nosediving repeatedly and causing issue. The Ai programmed would not allow the Pilots to circumvent the problem.

Now with Muilenberg acknowledging the errors with Boeing they will have to decide how best to maneuver not only the financial fall out but also the social fall out and responsibility. What is their social responsibility? What is man's responsibility when machines go wrong?

How about a new car? By all accounts Tesla is moving forward with their plans to have fully automated cars by 2020. Tesla's autopilot is now a standard feature on all their models. Per Tesla, "All of Tesla’s electric cars moving forward a ready-to-deploy driver-assist system that is among the best available in the market today." According to Tesla their data strongly indicates that accidents are less frequent when the driver assist system is engaged.

This sounds great for many commuters, but what about the auto accidents involving Tesla autopilots have been involved in. Many articles can be found talking about the numerous accidents that have happened involving Tesla's autopilot system. Shawn Hudson filed suit for his accident in Florida claims that Tesla is misleading consumers into believing its Autopilot system can safely transport passengers at highway speeds. Per Hudson, Tesla's sales representative he only had to “occasionally place his hand on the steering wheel and that the vehicle would ‘do everything else.'”

Many lawsuits in the meantime have been drawn up, settled or are still pending.

Tesla's response, to create a $5 million in a fund for legal fees and for minimally compensate drivers $20 to $280 for those who purchased 2016/ 2017 models. Tesla stresses that driver vigilance remains paramount. “When using Autopilot, it is the driver’s responsibility to remain attentive to their surroundings and in control of the vehicle at all times. Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents, and Tesla goes to great lengths to provide clear instructions about what Autopilot is and is not.”

Tesla's long-term plan is a full self-driving vehicle. Eliminating car owners from having to do anything during their commute. How many accidents are needed before Tesla changes their marketing, implementation and design of this autopilot feature. Is our Ai technology far enough along to eliminate these accidents? This is a great aspiration, but is Tesla taking enough responsibility now for the unfortunate accidents that have happened?

So many machines and so little time in our lifetime. Just when we think we have the latest and greatest the next company over already has the next step. At some point we have to stop and ask ourselves though, when are we moving too fast? We can only hope that businesses care more about safety than the next dollar. Are you taking your clients safety serious enough?


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