Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The dangers of automation?

Interesting review today at The Verge that relates to our lecture this week — a new book on the dangers of automation by Nicholas Carr, called The Glass Cage:
He paints a scary picture. Planes are crashing as pilots are lulled into a stupor by autopilot. Financial markets flirt with disaster as traders place too much faith in algorithms they barely understand. Doctors are acting like robots themselves as they rotely click through prompts on diagnostic and billing software. And something more ineffable is taking place, Carr worries, as automation subtly cuts us off from the world.  [...]  Carr takes a broad approach to automation, so any technological abbreviation of a task would qualify. Google’s auto-completing searches automates inquiry, Carr says, while legal software automates research, discovery, and even the drafting of contracts. CAD automates architectural sketching. Thanks to an explosion in computing power, more and more things are getting automated, and Carr worries that it’s all combining to degrade our skills and insulate us from the world. "When automation distances us from our work," Carr writes, "when it gets between us and the world, it erases the artistry from our lives."
Check out the review here and tell us what you think, if you have a moment.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting take on post-industrialism, in relation to Carr. It's frightening to see how much automation has simplified our lives. On the one end, it has formed a sort of convenience in cutting down on the time it takes to get something done or the experience required to handle a situation. On the other hand, there are professions like air pilots who are nowadays taught the specifics of the technology within their own plane as automated by the FAA, but may have no common sense in performing duties beyond basic training. It is from automation in professions like this that the necessity of actually flying a plane becomes obsolete in lieu of having to rather learn how to work the technology that truly flies the plane, and is only as trustworthy as the people who created it.