If you will recall back in Ronald Reagan’s day as President, there was a showdown between his administration and the air traffic control workers. He warned them not to strike or they’d be fired – they did, and they were. End of story, or is it. That is to say will history repeat in the future if we bring forth Artificial Intelligent Computers, New Computer Hardware, and the third phase of NextGen ATC equipment and technologies? I believe so, and thus, we were having a conversation about these potential future eventualities at our Think Tank recently.
Consider if you will some of our comments here – think about what Troy Laclaire is saying and some of the points of contention I bring up, and I’d like to start this dialogue out with reminding folks that anytime human beings develop better tools to do their jobs, there will be fewer jobs to do, thus, some folks will be let go. The jobs that remain will be lower skill levels and much higher skill levels but those in the middle will disappear.
Now then, when it comes to the latest and greatest air traffic control systems being introduced one must ask why will we need humans in the process. After all, most of the near misses or runway incursions are due to human error, either air traffic controllers or the pilots themselves. So, let’s remove them from the situation. Yes, both the pilots and the controllers. But today, let’s talk about air traffic controllers, as future UAVs will surely tell all the pilots; “You’re Fired!” but that’s for another article.
If we use the recording and data from the best air traffic controllers to program the AI system, then the controllers will inevitably be worked out of a job right? So, I said jokingly; Train the computers, and let the Air Traffic Control B.A.S.E. jump off the tower to grow some balls? But seriously, what will we use all those old control towers for, as the computers will most likely be underground in air-conditioned rooms with full electronic security, no one goes in or out unless they have clearance as the official IT personnel for the system?
Now then, we may as well some of those control towers for something, but they are many stories tall, so should we dismantle them instead? Troy notes; “If this type of system was put in place, you wouldn’t have a need really for a control tower, and could put everyone below ground.” Right, which was another point, namely; what to use them for – restaurants, observation decks, tours, lounges, bars? BASE Jumping locations? Sniper towers to get the bad guys – what?
Troy wonders; “well, there are many different uses you can use the current towers for. Heck, why not setup homeless shelters or lease the building out to companies to use as remote data centers since they already have communications capabilities?” And really he’s onto something there, it’s a great place for antennas, and all those control towers are fully wired.
Well, out with the old computer hardware, in with the new, but indeed, this does change everything, fewer jobs, less human error, and more systems. Please consider all this.