"Airbus machines DON´T just fall out of the skies."
Airbus´s sidestick "fly-by.wire"
"Anti World The Cabin as scenario
“Stepping back from the glare of the wreckage in order to gain some perspective on this catastrophe, we now turn to the world of books and discourse in order to remind ourselves of Heidegger’s point that, when a tool breaks, such as a hammer, it becomes suddenly conspicuous, standing out from the contextual background of its web of referentiality. “When a thing in the world around us becomes unusable,” Heidegger states, it becomes conspicuous. The natural course of concern is brought to a halt by this unusability. The continuity of reference and thus the referential totality undergoes a distinctive disturbance which forces us to pause. When a tool is damaged and useless, its defect actually causes it to be present, conspicuous, so that it now forces itself into the foreground of the environing world in an emphatic sense.”
The Age of Catastrophe Disaster and Humanity in Modern Times, p.43
But what happened in this case seems to have been the very opposite of the situation with Captain Van Zanten at Tenerife, where the problem was precisely that he was totally fused with the machine to the point that he could take no other data into account. In the case of Flight 447, the structural coupling of human consciousness with the plane's electronic nervous system was disrupted and the pilots were abruptly exiled from the plane's feedback systems. If this theory is correct, it is because of the freezing of external Pitot tubes on the plane that caused the computer to lose the ability to calculate the plane's speed, and without that data, it had a "nervous breakdown" and lost its orientation, immediately shutting down the autopilot and all the plane's automated systems.
And that's the second structural coupling that came undone: normally, as you know, planes stay in the air because of the structural coupling between the angle of their wings and the airflow that engages them. But if the plane slows down by as much as a mere 10 knots, the angle of the wing changes and breaks the engagement with the aerodynamic flow over the wings and goes into a stall, which may have happened in this case. The pilots, overwhelmed with data from the shutdown of all the plane's automated systems, could not regain control of the plane quickly enough to avoid the stall, and the plane simply fell into the ocean at that point.
So the situation seems to be the opposite to what happened at Tenerife in which Van Zanten got stuck in his machinic fusion with the aircraft. Here the pilots were suddenly exiled from the plane's interior consciousness and were overwhelmed with too much data coming at them too quickly to process and also maintain the necessary pitch and power to keep the plane in the air.
Relying on automation, it seems, has become a problem for pilots these days, who wind up being poorly trained with regard to manual emergency situations. The automation is a nervous system that can act as a buffer between the pilot and the actual physical body of the plane itself, which further and further distances his consciousness from the necessary structural coupling with the aircraft to control it.
Automation tends to create electronic feedback loops that leave human decision-making out of account. We are creating a global world civilization that is always on "auto-pilot" and has therefore created the danger of rendering humans, with their old-fashioned philosophical free wills, superfluous to the automated functioning of these systems. Leaving the human being, with his Kantian-Schopenhauerian free will out of account, is creating an accident prone civilization in which free will cannot be injected quickly enough to keep up with the speed-of-light decision-making processes of the machines themselves.
"The sharpest ideology is that reality appeals to its realistic character" (Alexander Kluge), since the German Idealism, since Clausewitz´s absolute concept of pure war. Let us talk about "overthinking" in the context of Frank Schirrmacher´s Thesis (Deputy Chief of FAZ) "Die Auswanderung des Denkens von dem Gehirn" (The Emmigration of the Thought from the Brain) (here is the interview: http://www.carta.info/22535/schirrmacher-kluge-algorithmen-geben-niemals-auf/). Kluge begins the interview with a “thought experiment” at the dawn of the Verdun Battle. No one could hardly suppose at that moment what a powerful and apocalyptic “idea” lies on the horizon, namely the “total war” (as “Materialschlacht”, “the war of materials and elements”), as Ernst Jünger would later immortalize in his writings. He means also, in this new digital world, there are only algorithms at work in a hyperspace, as in the Matrix. Algorithms give never up! They build up what you are, what you feel and what you think. We are not anymore in the realm of the classical thinking subject. Thinking itself becomes an obsolete category in the geometry of this new space, which is real time, there is no way to fix any individual historicity, historical consciousness, only flatness. Which kind of overthinking is at work at the AF 447 cabin in these three and half minutes?
Human Freedom has now become a deconstructed relic in the post-metaphysical age, simply tossed aside into the middenheap (as pictured in the robot junk heap in the movie "A.I.") as one more discarded Idea along with all the others of the metaphysical age. The Subject has been hollowed out, and the walls of the newly formed hollow are inscribed with fresh programs that substitute the behaviors and thoughts of the cyborgianized human being in place of the classical philosophical Subject.
It is no longer what "I" think that matters, since the "I" that once formed the ontological basis for the Subject is no longer there and has left behind only a semiotic vacancy; but only what the Machinic Assemblage of Global Civilization thinks FOR me and on my behalf that matters. What I would do in this particular situation (any situation) does not matter, but what I-as-embedded-in-the-Matrix would do is all that counts. Autonomy is now regarded with suspicion and autonomous individuals who question the System, such as whistleblowers like Assange or Snowden, for instance, are regarded as heretics for daring to demonstrate anything remotely like critical thinking.
Hence, the problem of the elimination of the philosophical "I" in contemporary global civilization is that it can, and often does, lead to catastrophes of this sort in which machinic consciousness, together with its programs, does not match the program of human autonomy, which it has already a priori come to regard as superfluous.
Thank you very much, John David Ebert!
In memory of all the passengers and crew of Air France flight 447