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Old 09-23-2019, 10:01 AM   #11  
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I will add:

I think NAME USER has been watching too many microsoft.com/ai commercials, which are a joke by the way. The recent one with the Snow Leopard?

A camera that sees motion when a snow leopard walks in front of it and snaps the shutter.
Wow.
That's not AI, it's a trail cam - the kind that has been available in Wal-mart's outdoor section for decades.

Does anyone know how they programmed the Waymo cars?
If it is deterministic AI (software) then it is just an imperfect human writing imperfect code. There is an IF THEN statement in there somewhere that will kill people. Then who's liable?

If it is software that is capable of choosing whether to swerve and hit the mom & baby carriage in the crosswalk or hit 6 adults on the sidewalk, how does it make that choice? Is there ethical programming in the software? Who is liable for such choices?
Do Waymo riders have a say in such choices? The general public (pedestrians)?

Right now Waymo in sunny Phoenix is a neat parlor trick. Sort of how a Roomba is cool until you come home one day to find it did a great job of spreading Fido's dog doo-doo all over your kitchen floor.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:50 AM   #12  
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Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post
From a technical, economic, and political perspective it can't be a minute less than 50 years...



This is true, and many folks don't get the implication of that....

The development costs for single pilot are pretty much the same as no pilot. But you're only saving the cost of the FO (and not even all of that if you have backup pilots on the ground) since there's no conceivable scenario where you go directly from two pilots to no pilots.

The hard part is not the automation per se, although there is significant technical uncertainty in the "last mile", ie getting all the way to 10(-9).

The hard part is the economics of developing and implementing, plus the certification hurdles. Google "Deterministic AI" to learn more about the later.

1. Nobody knows how to implement a true generalized AI. And if you did, there are serious doubts among the top minds as to whether you really should.
2. Non-deterministic systems which attempt to model that cannot be certified for complex safety-critical applications (you never know exactly what it will really do in a given scenario, and the response could change from day to day).
3. Deterministic AI is just software. If it's programmed wrong (by a human or another AI) it's just like MCAS.

Equally hard is making the business case to spend the development money in the face of uncertainty in areas of technical, regulatory, and public acceptance. No manager who starts writing checks for this will ever see a dime of short or mid-term gain, the timeline is too long. Technical movement in that direction will happen, but for other reasons. Automation of weapon systems for example, but all military planning and research revolves around teaming between manned and unmanned systems. There's no technical potential for totally autonomous weapon systems (aka terminator), too risky.

It will really need to happen with cars first. Cars are not easier than airplanes, they can always pull over to the side of the road if something goes wrong. Although a car's "taxi environment" is less predictable a plane will still need to be able to avoid errant ground vehicles, illegal aliens, and crazy folks running across the airport surface. Less common than for automobiles but liability cannot just be wished away. No company can afford to sell or employ something which cannot be insured, nor can a regulator certify it.

An autonomous airline will actually have to be demonstrably BETTER than manned airliners, in order to justify the cost and sway regulators and the public.

Also you'd need to completely re-engineer ground handling and ATC systems $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Who's going to pay for that? The fed? Why, to eliminate 100,000 good paying union jobs? That's not how the world really works.
I think you may be conflating issues. So my concern is not AI flown airplanes that think for themselves. It's automating the aircraft so much that we don't need pilots up front operating them. In addition, automating them so much it will devalue the actual skill set.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:34 PM   #13  
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I think you may be conflating issues. So my concern is not AI flown airplanes that think for themselves. It's automating the aircraft so much that we don't need pilots up front operating them. In addition, automating them so much it will devalue the actual skill set.
So you are not worried about an iRobus i320. Okay. Serious question. What pilot tasks do you think can be automated, that don't already have autopilot and/or autothrust automation, to make this venture worth it?

Pushback?
Taxi?
Takeoff?
Rejected takeoff?
Landing?
Rejected landing?
Fire on the ground, and the fire brigade says to "hold off on the evacuation." There's smoke & fire, they say. But not to worry, comrade, hold off for a moment. How long does the automation wait until evacuating? 3rd, 2nd, or 1st degree burns? If it is not automation, but remote pilots, how do they know how bad it is? Is the airplane bristling with cameras as if it were a flying Tesla? What if the camera that has the only correct aspect on the fire is deferred per MEL?
What other emergencies and abnormals can you just automate with IF...THEN statements?

This is such a ludicrous pipe dream once you begin to actually THINK about it.

But we have downsized the crew in recent past:

The FE was removed due to systems automation.

Don't make the erroneous correlation that since we went from 3 to 2, we can go from 2 to 1 or 2 to 0.

You're not going to delete either pilot with more systems automation. They are there for ADM. You cannot build hardware and code software with a "press here for which way to deviate around this wx" button, or, a "well gee, enough people have been burned, let's evacuate" button.

If you are meaning not to delete, but remotely locate the pilots, well good luck with creating a brand-new, air-ground, full-duplex, satellite data network with the

latency
bandwidth
security
low cost

to make it even worth the thought.

Your grandkids won't see airliner UAS. Stop worrying about it.
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Old 09-23-2019, 01:31 PM   #14  
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I think you may be conflating issues. So my concern is not AI flown airplanes that think for themselves. It's automating the aircraft so much that we don't need pilots up front operating them. In addition, automating them so much it will devalue the actual skill set.
You should quit. My buddy at AA talks about what you’re like IRL - you’d be doing your pilot group a great service if you hung it up.
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Old 09-23-2019, 01:37 PM   #15  
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I'm not sure how being concerned and keeping up with what is going on around us is now construed as wanting to quit. My thought is the opposite, I love the job and the interaction with people, it would be a shame for it to go away.

Edit: If that's the impression I give off that is a problem and certainly need to change it. Thanks for calling my attention to it. Feel free to PM if you want.

Last edited by Name User; 09-23-2019 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 09-23-2019, 01:47 PM   #16  
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I'm not sure how being concerned and keeping up with what is going on around us is now construed as wanting to quit. My thought is the opposite, I love the job and the interaction with people, it would be a shame for it to go away.
Maybe there will be an aviation equiv of a Walmart greeter.
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Old 09-23-2019, 02:25 PM   #17  
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I think you may be conflating issues. So my concern is not AI flown airplanes that think for themselves. It's automating the aircraft so much that we don't need pilots up front operating them. In addition, automating them so much it will devalue the actual skill set.
They've already automated out some things....

1. Systems Management. Good rid of FE's.

2. Reduced mental gymnastics in IFR navigation. This didn't eliminate the need for pilots but expanded the pool of potential talent, lowering labor cost.

3. Hand flying. Didn't eliminate pilots, but rather made things safer by allowing pilots to focus their mental energy on problem solving vice BAI.

But what they can't automate is judgement and flexibility without a non-deterministic generalized AI. That's problematic because they have no idea how to build one, less idea how to certify it, and there are a host of ethical issues up to and including an existential threat to humanity (low probability I know, but the potential consequences are so severe that it must be considered deadly seriously).
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:57 PM   #18  
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They've already automated out some things....

1. Systems Management. Good rid of FE's.

2. Reduced mental gymnastics in IFR navigation. This didn't eliminate the need for pilots but expanded the pool of potential talent, lowering labor cost.

3. Hand flying. Didn't eliminate pilots, but rather made things safer by allowing pilots to focus their mental energy on problem solving vice BAI.

But what they can't automate is judgement and flexibility without a non-deterministic generalized AI. That's problematic because they have no idea how to build one, less idea how to certify it, and there are a host of ethical issues up to and including an existential threat to humanity (low probability I know, but the potential consequences are so severe that it must be considered deadly seriously).
501 and yourself bring up some valid points. A lot of what we comply with on a day to day basis is legal footwork and can be automated. When you look at what is being done these days with tablets running software integrated into the aircraft that will solve basically all the flying portion of our jobs. The only thing left is like you both mentioned judgement calls and probably the only relevant one is an unsafe to fly situation after V1. Not many of those occur each year, I'm not privy to the info if it even exists, but it is a very small % of operations.

FAs can be trained to evacuate or not. In fact they already are, in the event of no communication from up front.

That being said knock on wood the fact we've been this safe over this much time (there have been a handful of pilot error instances over that time) is a testament to the industry as a whole.

I also half wonder if self driving cars will impact us first. For more local sub 300 mile trips it will be easier and probably quicker to get in your car and drive you to your destination. Or maybe we will start running bigger public transit from outlier airports into megahubs, meaning all the short hop flights will start to disappear.

What does get me is how little the industry has changed over the past 40-50 years. That makes me thing it may be ripe for an upset, someone to come in and just do things better. The whole experience before getting on a plane is so cumbersome what with parking, security, waiting before your flight, etc.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:41 PM   #19  
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What does get me is how little the industry has changed over the past 40-50 years. That makes me thing it may be ripe for an upset, someone to come in and just do things better. The whole experience before getting on a plane is so cumbersome what with parking, security, waiting before your flight, etc.
I'm already at the point where I'd drive 300 miles rather than fly, even if it's free. Beyond that, I'll fly even if I have to pay. Obviously depends on what I'm doing when I get there and for how long.

I think people who take short commuter flights rather than drive to the hub are doing it for easy parking and short TSA lines more than anything else.

I suspect automated cars would put a dent in the regional business but not to an extreme degree... my wife doesn't like road trips more than ablout 8 hours and she does have an autopilot (me).
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Old 09-24-2019, 06:22 AM   #20  
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I'm not sure how being concerned and keeping up with what is going on around us is now construed as wanting to quit. My thought is the opposite, I love the job and the interaction with people, it would be a shame for it to go away.

Edit: If that's the impression I give off that is a problem and certainly need to change it. Thanks for calling my attention to it. Feel free to PM if you want.


I enjoy your posts. People get worked up bc our jobs are really good and people are scared to lose them.

While i personally disagree with lots of your posts I do like to see another viewpoint.
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