On Tue, 12 Jul 2005, Niall O Broin wrote:
> Maybe that explains the standard of driving in Ireland.
> Yes, true enough, but if you try to land an aircraft with no
> training whatsoever, you are very likely to end up dead.
With no training, maybe. But even the control aspects of landing you
can learn relatively quickly (maybe not /well/). Certainly learning
enough to land badly (maybe damaging aeroplane) but with a pretty
good chance of walking away can be achieved very quickly.
Remember, pilots in WWII sometimes only got as little as twenty hours
of flight training (sometimes less) before being assigned to active
According to a programme recently on Discovery, the japanese were at
one stage assigning pilots to active duty after only 8 hours of
flight training (admittedly, Kamikaze pilots... but they'd still have
learnt how to land a plane.)
> I don't want them to need much in the way of training. But it does
> bug me that people expect to be able to use what is a very complex
> machine, with a huge number of possible states, without any
> training whatsoever.
But the very benefit of computer automation is precisely that the
machine *can* automate complex tasks, relieving the user of having to
learn these details.
If we return to the flight example, electronics initially
and more recently computer-automation have slowly allowed much
expertise to be removed from wetware in the cockpit.
The flight engineer disappeared in the late 70s / early 80s. No
longer does a cockpit require a human in it to have a vastly detailed
knowledge of the innards of the planes systems. Further computer
automation has removed direct requirement (though, it's still
required by regulation) for yet more expertise. Airline pilots have
become the overseers of computers, rather than actually flying.
With not much training any one of us here could fly a modern airliner
from airport to airport, just by punching buttons. (we couldn't do
safely obviously, we wouldn't be able to cope with any kind of
emergency or unusual situation, but still).
The whole point of computer automation is to remove the need for
continious involvement of an operator in the details and shift that
responsibility to a programmer (who has to get the details right
Ditto for general purpose computers. The more details the computer
can handle, the better.
Paul Jakma paul at clubi.iepaul at jakma.org Key ID: 64A2FF6A
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