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LostInParadise's avatar

Shouldn't AI be able to do away with air traffic controllers?

Asked by LostInParadise (31944points) 1 month ago

Overall the work done by air traffic controllers is admirable, but aren’t they just providing a solution to a mathematical problem: Given the positions, speeds and destinations of a set of points, how do you direct them to land and take off with minimal chance of two of them colliding? With all due respect to the controllers, shouldn’t we be able to get rid of them?

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9 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Not completely. We need human beings when technology fails.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I don’t even think it needs to be AI. Plain old algorithms can do this and they don’t come to work high, sick, distracted, or hung over. @JLeslie is right though, still need a human or two for when things break who are qualified enough to step into the place of a machine when needed. It would surprise me if air traffic controllers are not already aided by algorithms.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I see AI as still being in its infancy & it is way too early to just totally trust it!!! We already have the Russians hacking our computer systems. A human or 3 needs to be immediately available to STOP planes from suddenly dropping out of the sky!!! Humans need to use their brain or they will forget how to do their job.

Zaku's avatar

Fast responses are needed by humans who have been watching the situation throughout. You can’t just have a computer do it and then expect a human who hasn’t been doing it themselves, to suddenly take over.

It’s similar to a self-driving car suddenly giving up and telling the driver they need to drive now, when the driver may not really have been paying attention to what has been going on (which happens – LOL) . . . only in 3 dimensions, with scores of multi-million-dollar airplanes going in all directions with different fuel states and schedules and issues, and thousands of passengers, and on and on . . .

elbanditoroso's avatar

Theoretically yes, but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to have my plane managed by AI. There are too many things that can happen in an instant, that AI wouldn’t or couldn’t handle.

I’ll go for AI Air traffic control 20 years after they perfect driving autonomous vehicles with no accidents. WHich will never happen.

Blackberry's avatar

Why would you be so careless to put humans lives at risk by handing it off to computers and thinking it’ll just be totally fine?

LostInParadise's avatar

The FAA has an air control simulation center near Atlantic City, where retired flight controllers are used for testing new features. I would expect that an AI air control system would be fullly tested at the center, using AI in place of the former air controllers..

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@Blackberry You do realize that most modern vehicles including cars, planes, massive ships, and spacecraft are fly by wire and are really under computer control right? Additionally, our power grid is protected automatically by computers. If it’s ruggedized, redundant, and thoroughly tested they’re often better than humans. People just think that because their consumer-grade junk is unreliable that the industrial stuff is poor also. When done right it’s extremely reliable. If you have a failure, backup systems kick in instantly and technicians are dispatched to make repairs.

Blackberry's avatar

@Blackwater_Park
Yea that’s true. Still odd to ask why humans aren’t being replaced, though.

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