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Human Pilots vs Artificial Intelligence

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain robot AIU is speaking.” How about this kind of announcement on board of the plane? Will you sit back relaxed and fly to your destination if you know that a robot operates the flight? 

I have decided to write this blog and tell you about the possibility of a pilot job disappearing due to enormous requests from you guys. These requests started when Boeing officials made a statement at the Paris air show back in 2017 that this company is looking for the possibilities to make pilotless airplanes. And a lot of people who wanted to become a pilot started thinking if it’s worth spending that much money and become a pilot when companies are already thinking of replacing pilots with robots. But, guys, there are lots of reasons why it’s still a good idea to pursue your dreams and go for a career as airline pilots in the next 40 years, at least. 

There is a huge misconception among the passengers that modern days pilots are just pushing some buttons, and then the computers do the rest job. Indeed, nowadays pilots do not operate the aircraft like 30 years ago, now we have an advanced autopilot system, but flying the plane is the combination of input of external efforts, for example:

Decision making – pilots make a dozen decisions during one normal flight without any incidents and failures which are, i.e., changes in runway, speed, temperature, routes. These are all made in one normal flight. So it means that autopilot can not be operated without pilots’ knowledge and experience. Remember, autopilot can’t make crucial decisions and do the flight. 

Now, guys, you will start thinking ok, but if we are speaking about artificial intelligence, it means that we are talking about a supercomputer that can make those decisions based on its own experience. Well, it is true, but still, there is one important question remains open – how about SAFTY? Let’s consider the situation with Airbus A320 of US Airways flight 1549 where forced water landing took place in the Hudson River off Manhattan after both engines were disabled by a bird strike. And the pilot in command Chesley Sullenberger “Sully” made the correct decision in landing on the river instead of attempting a return to LaGuardia airport and perfectly executed a precarious water ditching. All 155 people aboard survived. What decision will be made by the AIU? Remains unclear. 

The next important thing to consider is if the passengers will get onboard of this airplane, which is operated by AIU? Ask yourself. 

Perhaps not, because we humans do not trust computers. According to studies, 71 percent of the public would not fly on an aircraft without a pilot on board. Even if there is a cost-saving, more than half of the surveyed reported that they would not board a plane without a pilot.

Our world is becoming more and more automated year by year. But that doesn’t mean everything needs to be automated. Sure, robots replaced some of our ordinary tasks. But one thing that most likely won’t happen in the next decade is the automation of commercial aircraft. So, future pilots, it’s the high time to study hard, go for your dream, become a pilot, and greet your passengers in the nearest future. 

Until next time, and as always, “We Speak Aviation.”


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