Monday, February 29, 2016

Y2K as Metaphor: International Date Line

From a NYTimes piece reporting on a DOD study raising problems with potential autonomous weaponry, which selects its own targets.
The Center for a New American Security report focuses on a range of unexpected behavior in highly computerized systems like system failures and bugs, as well as unanticipated interactions with the environment.
“On their first deployment to the Pacific, eight F-22 fighter jets experienced a Y2K-like total computer failure when crossing the international date line,” the report states. “All onboard computer systems shut down, and the result was nearly a catastrophic loss of the aircraft. While the existence of the international date line could clearly be anticipated, the interaction of the date line with the software was not identified in testing.”
 I guess the Y2K may work as a metaphor because it refers to a fact which existed and should have been accounted for in system design, but wasn't.  I'd add it to the failure of a Mars mission because of interfacing systems, one of which used metric, and one of which used American.

No comments: