Unsafe software

Most of the recent attention about risks arising from the use of digital technologies has focused on security, including concerns over data breaches and Russian election hacking; privacy, as revelations about misuse of Facebook data have accelerated in number; and AI, because we have become aware of life-or-death decisions that are increasingly being placed in the hands of bots and robots, as, for example, in their roles in autonomous vehicles and weapons.

Yet there are risks with other technology that we regard as mature and benevolent.  Consider, for example, software that assists pilots in guiding, stabilizing, and landing airplanes.  Most recently, these risks have become apparent in the case of the Boeing 737 Max.  There were two crashes with many fatalities, one in Indonesia in October 2018, the other in Ethiopia in early March 2019.

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