IQ Must Be Able To Override AI

Soooo… is the Boeing 737 Max 8 fightworthy?

I can only get a small sense of the horror and exasperation, which any jet flight crew must experience whenever a major malfunction occurs… especially one where an alleged advance… a.k.a. Artificial Intelligence (AI)… flat-out fails to live up to the inventors’ / programmers’ hype… and… worse yet… might even precipitate and exacerbate a problem.

Albeit a different form of transportation, four long decades ago, I experienced similar horror and exasperation.

It all began on a sunshiny summer afternoon. All the sudden, I discovered that my barely one year off the dealership’s new car lot, 1972 Chevy Nova was cruising along at 45 mph / 72 kph and still building up speed… all this occurring with my foot totally off the accelerator pedal!

Fighting off that sinking, sickening, surreal, this cannot possibly be happening feeling… I had to rapidly [1] assess a situation that I had never, before, trained for in any of my driver education classes, [2] come up with my own “by the seat of the pants” game plan to regain control and… above all else… [3] prevent the injury and/or death of other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. And let’s not forget saving my own life, either.

Trust me… for a panicking, inexperienced teenage driver, formulating such a plan can be easier said than done. My intitial inclination was to deem myself expendable and litterly ditch my vehicle. Fortunately, my self-preservation kicked in as did the realization that the light traffic volume was buying me both space and time for a less drastic, dramatic solution.

And in spite of the fact that my plan B left me worried that I’d damage the automatic transmission by shifting gears to Neutral at this speed… that became my plan… one that eventually allowed me to safely apply the brakes… to coast off towards the highway’s shoulder and come to a halt.

Of course, compared to a jet, I had only been dealing with lower velocity and forward, left and right maneuvers. A flight crew’s reality is much tougher… multiple hundreds of mph/kph plus the 
up and down of the Z axis… hopefully more up than down… and down only when that becomes desirable.

The fake prez did Tweet on this subject…

Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are…. …needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!

Oddly enough… I find myself in rare… albeit only partial… agreement with him… or whoever the Tweet’s ghostwriter may’ve been. Of course Einstein… born on this very day in 1879 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AL!) and having died in 1955… would be a lousy choice for any jet’s captain’s seat. But, setting all levity aside…

While I’d never suggest humankind should absolutely abandon artificial intelligence, aircraft systems designers must always [1] ensure that the flight crews are fully educated (write comprehensible instruction manuals / conduct training classes) re these systems and [2] envision the need for a manual override switch to allow the IQ of aviators… whenever deemed necessary… to regain full control over AI. Ultimately… that’s the best way to prevent injury and death.


ADDENDUM: Although the following clips feature Sci-Fi’s Star Trek Universe, the Season II episode, The Ultimate Computer did address the urgent need for AI… a.k.a. The M-5 Computer… to be governed by an OFF switch.







Et Tu Sulu?


As most of us have heard by now, George Takei… portrayer of Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek TV series and in a half dozen big screen films… is now being accused of sexual assault by his alleged victim… male model Scott R. Brunton.

Even though there’s been no legal establishment of guilt or innocence, we now find Takei’s portrait hung in the daily expanding rogues gallery of alleged, Hollywood and Washington DC, sexual predators.

As an avid Sci-Fi fan, I’ve been “onboard” Takei’s starship Enterprise ever since it set forth on its “five year” mission on Earth Date 09/08/1966. Up till this allegation surfaced… his character has frequently been stellar… be his screenplay lines delivered in the Star Trek universe or eloquently orated during his own down-to-earth, real world, social activism (championing liberal causes). Hell, he’s even spoken out against the very type of sexual predatory behavior he’s now being accused of.

We can only hope that Takei’s tweeted sentiments are genuine…

“Those that know me understand that non-consensual acts are so antithetical to my values and my practices, the very idea that someone would accuse me of this is quite personally painful.”

As for who I believe in this specific “he said / he said” matter?

Well, seeing how the percentage of false accusations is typically low… seeing how I’ve been giving credence to others who’ve been exposing performers, producers and politicians (inclusive of a sitting, so-called prez)… seeing how Takei, himself, fessed up to his having forced sex on others when he appeared on shock jock, Howard Stern’s radio program… things are not looking good.

Beyond that… I cannot give a free pass to Takei merely because he’s a liberal. Worse yet, to do so would be tantamount to re-victimizing a victim… something antithetical to my own values.

Obviously, if falsely accused, Takei must deny the charges but… what if his doing so is only self-serving… i.e., just to try to make everything go away ASAP? More to the point, would not a truly innocent man respond thusly…

We can never expect to settle this matter on any social media platform. The more proper venue will be the courtroom where I’m confident, once the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth gets established, a jury of my peers will find me innocent of all wrongdoing.

To the best of my knowledge, there’s neither any arrest warrant nor judicial proceedings pending… but…

Would not a falsely accused person demand his day in court to restore his good name?