In a world of automation

In a world of automation

In a world of automation,

things can still go wrong, and do. Back in October there was the horrific crash of the Boeing 737 MAX that crashed into the sea not long after takeoff near Jakarta. On a recent Binghamton, NY radio show I comment on weekly, I was asked about legal perspective on the crash:

From a legal standpoint who’s culpable?

Who’s culpable when something horrible like this happens? Is it likely to be the manufacturer, Boeing? Is it likely to be the airline, Lion Air? Or will it be a combination of entities?

What happened?

It’s likely the plane had an issue that the ground maintenance crew didn’t fix right. Then, the pilots should have recognized what system was causing the problem. No matter what, they should’ve shut all automation systems off and flown the plane manually, aborted the flight, whatever was necessary given the circumstances.

Supposedly, although the Boeing 737 was a brand new jet, the flight crew struggled to get the plane under control – automation took over, and the anti-stall system seems to have crashed the plane. The facts come down to an immense amount of great detail in a circumstance like this. But again, more than likely, it was a combination of factors.

Automation is a good thing in many ways.

In this case, how much training though did the crew have ‘the old-fashioned way?’ When humans have an over-reliance on automation, when things go wrong, how can humans be better prepared?

Autonomous Vehicles

Automation is of course weaving into all areas of our lives. Right now, there are autonomous vehicles, even programs launching that are testing autonomous tractor trailers. I know for sure based on the many cases I’ve seen over the years, there’s so much litigation about tractor trailers and human error. In fact, driver fatigue, drive distraction cause the bulk of all accidents out there. In some cases you could say long-term automation is a smarter thing. Short-term it could spell a lot of disaster.

Think about where we live for example?

How are automated tractor trailers or vehicles going to contend with ice and snowy road conditions? It’s an amazing world we live in and I suppose like all things, there are upsides and downsides to all that we experience. Automation is good in so many ways, but we also must always consider the potential outcomes when we rely too heavily and take humans out of the equation.




Joe Stanley of Stanley Law is a personal injury attorney with offices in Syracuse, Binghamton, Watertown, Rochester, and Montrose, PA. He comments weekly on multiple radio and tv shows on different matters important to people. As an advocate for the people, Joe and his team roll up their sleeves and get to work on your personal injury accident, car crash, slip and fall, construction accident, worker’s compensation case, nursing home neglect or abuse, medical malpractice, and premise liability cases. The Stanley Law Team leaves no stone unturned. 1-800-608-3333.

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