Since "speech recognition" technology was introduced by Apple to their devices in 2008, the ultimate aim for all the tech giants, developers, designers and engineers has been to create intelligence, Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The Aviation industry has been one of the pioneers of AI. The first grasp of this technology was introduced by Lawrence Sperry at the beginning of the 1st world war in 1914, the "Auto Pilot". It permitted the aircraft to fly straight and level on a compass course without a pilot's attention. Since then, most of the technology has been created to control the aircraft rather than to make "real life" decisions... until now.
Think of "AI" as a child learning how to interact with others, but instead of using play time and games to do it, AI utilises a vast amount of data analysis generated by humans and collected in mega processors in order to learn patterns which can make any computer, robot or device interact reasonably in almost any level or circumstance.
ANN is helping
Researchers are using ANN's (Artificial Neuron Networks) or connectionist which work as neurones on the human brain. The beauty of it, is hat the ANN's apart, from following strict programming, can also learn from observed data, in other words, like an apprentice. Here is how it works:
The Human Implications
According to Baomar and Bentley paper, "the reason behind this is to lower workload, human error, and stress faced by crew members, by developing autopilots capable of handling multiple scenarios without human intervention."
But it is the "human intervention" that I am worried about. I bet we all could be thinking about the threat that technology and AI represent for our future professional lives in the industry. If computers take over aviation, there won't be any more pilots, no more pilot unions, no salaries, no training. etc. Maybe one day there won't even be airlines, as the manufacturers will be able to integrate this technology directly to the cockpit during the production stage...What do you think?