Ed board

Is this proof technology cannot be trusted?


American Airlines accidentally gave too many pilots off during the upcoming holiday season, thus creating a crew shortage on thousands of flights, according to Bloomberg Technology.

This accident was due to a system glitch, which gave time off to everyone who requested it during the holidays.

Now, 15,000 American Airlines flights are short-staffed from Dec. 17 to Dec. 31. The airline is paying time-and-a-half to anyone who comes back to work during those weeks.

The glitch in the system posed a question for The Spectator Editorial Board: Is this proof technology cannot be trusted?

One speaker thought this incident could be more proof that technology isn’t trustworthy because humans created it.

“Technology is programmed by humans,” the speaker said. “They write the computer language, and humans are prone to mistakes, and technology is always going to be prone to mistakes too. It can’t be wholly trusted.”

Another member agreed with the first speaker but said they thought technology hasn’t made us happier and it has decreased our quality of life. They said technology is often used to do work humans could do as a way to make a living.

One editorial board member said mistakes will help us learn in the future to not wholly rely on technology.

“Faults like this would only result in improvement because you want to make sure that you have enough pilots to fly the planes and make the holiday season,” they said, “because so many people travel during the holiday season — like Thanksgiving and during Christmastime — that, of course they need pilots.”

There should be a backup plan for when these problems happen, one speaker said.

“This should’ve been planned for, we should’ve had a mass capacity for getting off (work),” they said.

However, what should the airline do about the pilots who were scheduled off?

One speaker said they should be required to work.

“I, as a part-time employee at Kwik Trip, am required to come in on holidays that I ask off,” the speaker said. “So someone making good money should also be required to work Christmas, if you ask me, if it’s necessary for the good of the American public and the economy.”

Another speaker pointed out the pilots will receive extra pay if they work over the holidays, so there are benefits to coming back to work.

Does this situation imply technology cannot be trusted? One speaker wasn’t sure the situation at hand was shying them away from trusting it.

“It’s a big mistake in that people need to get where they need to get during the holiday season, and there’s money to be brought in,” one speaker said. “… But on a wider scale, this is one of those technological errors that’s positioned more towards the bottoms of so-called trust issues.”

The Spectator Editorial Board voted 3-4-1, with three members voting yes, four voting no and one member choosing to abstain from voting.