Pros and Cons of Technology in Aviation
Technology for a lot of organizations is a key asset, as it is seen as an advantage in the competitive environment; however, from a safety point of view technology is not only an advantage, it also bears possible negative aspects.
In a world where technology has more and more importance, people make use of it in more and more aspects of daily life. Nowadays a lot of tasks are accomplished with the aid of technology or are even done entirely by technology.
Dependence on Technology
Even if technology has a lot of positive consequences in terms of, essentially, simplifying life, it has multiple drawbacks.
One of the main drawbacks of technology in relation to safety is that human skills lose their value. This means that people that do things with the aid of technology are not able to do the same things without this aid, because they have lost the manual skills.
The dependence that people have in relation to technology can be also dangerous. Let’s simply think about the situation of a flight, where part of the onboard technological equipment does not work properly, this could potentially lead to a situation of chaos if the problem could be fixed manually but people have lost the proper skills to do it.
Compensating for Imperfect Technology
A solution to this issue is emphasizing the coexistence of technology and human skills, with the two things taken together and in the right proportion. In fact, technology should be an aid to human skill, not a substitute for it.
Maybe in the future technology will reach a level of maturity of ‘perfection’ that will allow it to be a substitute for manual skills without drawbacks, but we are not there yet. The failure of technology is still considered quite likely in safety risk assessments and the need to intervene manually is almost always considered as a remedial action.
Technology is not perfect, so there is the need to preserve the human capacity of synthesis and the person needs to be empowered of the final decision. Technology should be considered as an aid for the person and it should help them to make the right decision and not to surrender individual accountability.
Published October 2018. Last updated in September 2021.