Thoughts on the Italian Cruise Ship Disaster

The catastrophic running-around of a cruise ship just off the coast of Italy, leaving several people dead and scores missing, doesn’t lead to any particular deep thoughts.

One item of note, though:  several of the news reports I’ve heard on the topic stated that human error is considered the most likely cause of the crash, due to the ship’s possession of multiple high-tech tracking and location finders that should have made it impossible to stray into dangerous waters by accident.

The existence and possession of such technologies is only useful if you bother to consult them – and not, say, turn them off because their warning sirens are getting on your nerves.

There is no such thing as idiot-proofing a technology.  No matter how much of a process we mechanize, as long as people have some input, human error can enter into it.  Not that there aren’t other kinds and sources of error, but humans are especially good at screwing up.

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