|Fixing a leaking pipe with a soda can, no|
big problem for a human!
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
Humans are awesome!
In November 2014 I was quoted by “Gotlands Tidningar” (a small Swedish newspaper) saying that I was skeptic to unmanned cargo ships. I am, but I also know that there are a lot of (simple) activities at sea that can be solved with unmanned or even autonomous systems (for example unmanned submarines for civilian or military purposes). An autopilot is a simple thing solving a simple task, the problem arises when the wrong pipe rapture in the middle of the Atlantic because no one was there to see the sign before it was too late. With no one onboard such a small break-down suddenly becomes a big problem.
I like to argue that making ships insensitive to small
break-downs is much more expensive (in regard to investments, fuel and maintenance)
than keeping the crews onboard.
In November 2013 I wrote that ”when an engineer looks at a system there is a drive for getting everything controllable and predictable, these are considered important characteristics of a good system.Therefore, people in that system will be considered a problem, because they are not controllable nor predictable. However, recognizing the fact that things will happen anyway you will also need a system that is able to recover. … I think the human errors are outweighed many times by the human recoveries and last minute prevention skills and the “human prevention” events are probably many more than the “human error” incidents. The problem is that no one is counting the human prevention events, but when you need someone to blame you identify, document and count the human errors.”
Now, when watching ”People are awesome” videos on Internet I would like to be able to say “I rest my case”. Because, after seeing for example how a person can sail and tack a foiling moth in rough seas it is for me obvious that humans’ ability to react to sensory information and adapt actions is second to none.
The problem is that too many still fail to see this and talk about drones and autonomous systems like it is some kind of solution. At least at sea the tasks are too complex to be defined in advance and implemented into a computer.