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The HAL 9000 explanation: “It can only be attributable to human error”

Originally posted on Humanistic Systems:

In 2001: A Spade Odyssey, there is a problem aboard Discovery One. The HAL 9000 computer, artificial intelligence which can talk and mimic the human brain, announces a problem.

HAL: “I’ve just picked up a fault in the AE35 unit. It’s going to go 100% failure in 72 hours.”

The AE-35 unit is a gyroscopic device used to maintain the communications link between with mission control by keeping the satellite dish antenna aligned with Earth.

Dr David Bowman goes outside the ship in a spherical Extravehicular Activity (EVA) pod to retrieve and replace the malfunctioning unit, and returned to the pod bay, where he and Dr Frank Poole carry out extensive diagnostics. They can’t find any defects. The pair radio Mission Control in Houston. Mission Control says that HAL, the supposedly “foolproof and incapable of error” 9000 computer may have made an error. Their SAL 9000 unit, the twin…

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‘Human error’: The handicap of human factors, safety and justice | Humanistic Systems

As someone who think that the maritime industry still is an error-inducing, blame-attributing system, I recommend this link:

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Passage Planning: an image


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2014/01/07 · 13:30

SHORTIES: Safety first — for whom?

In 1994, the American scholar Charles Perrow wrote an article named “Accidents in High-Risk Systems”, in which he reviews his theory of “normal accidents”.

On pages 14 and 15, he writes:

“Another interesting systemic factor that influences the number of accidents and their prevention is the matter of close proximity of elites to operating systems. (…) Thus, the nature of the victims im contact with the system should have some effect upon the safety of that system.”

This can be useful to understand why airplane hijackings are usually treated so differently from ship hijackings and why the aerospace industry is error-avoiding, while the maritime industry is error-prone, for example. The elite may be involved with shipping, but is committed to flying.

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Death of Chief Engineer While Boarding Bulk Carrier – Investigation Report

Alexandre da Rocha:

It could have been me… or you.

Originally posted on Officer of the Watch:

This investigation report refers to the death of a relieving engineer while boarding the Hong Kong registered bulk carrier Apollo. The relieving Chief Engineer (C/E), who just arrived at the ship’s side after a journey of about 14 hours from Sri Lanka, fell into the water when he was climbing the pilot ladder to board the vessel.

2013.12.02 - Death of Chief Engineer While Boarding Bulk Carrier - Investigation Report Figure 1

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