Automation and ATC

FightingIrish2012

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402
Data Com is currently happening in the centers which is automation. There’s zero automation happening in Towers and Tracons. Centers have the luxury of having ERAM and the type of traffic that is less dynamic than a terminal environment. (I’m not trashing ARTCC).
This is all true, if there was a true run on having AI replace air traffic controllers it would for sure be easiest to apply and happen to the centers first, but the powers that be will make the centers be last.
 

RavenYZF-R6

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This is all true, if there was a true run on having AI replace air traffic controllers it would for sure be easiest to apply and happen to the centers first, but the powers that be will make the centers be last.
Don’t the FedEx pilots sequence themselves (to a point) into MEM? Through I heard about them and an airport in Europe as well.
 

Phillyman2633

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Data Com is currently happening in the centers which is automation. There’s zero automation happening in Towers and Tracons.
We have CPDLC here...makes life a fucking breeze on CD in swap, unless you like to read full-route clearances. Also word through the grapevine is that JFK is slated to go stripless sometime in 2021.
 

Nhstadt

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We have CPDLC here...makes life a fucking breeze on CD in swap, unless you like to read full-route clearances. Also word through the grapevine is that JFK is slated to go stripless sometime in 2021.
My last fac was manual everything. ATIS, clearance, etc. So much better with ATIS-D and PDC. Only thing automated was the window screens.

Now I bitch about having to get off my ass and pass strips.

That said any of you guys who think automation won't happen in your career who aren't pretty close to retire are fooling yourselves. I'm not saying we are ever gonna be out of a job, but I think we are definitely the last generation that will do this job primarily with a headset and radios, followed by a drastic reduction in the overall workforce.
 

YouAppearToBeOnFire

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201
I don't see automation taking over without some sort of AI. Which there's no AI that is yet capable of doing this job. Additionally, if a computer malfunctions and people die that would be quite significant. Whereas if a person messes up there's another person to step into their place. It's easier to blame one person for a mistake than an entire computer system.

That doesn't mean there couldn't be a compromise where technology makes things improve efficiency. Like switching from radar to GPS and working airplanes closer together.
 

Nhstadt

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I don't see automation taking over without some sort of AI. Which there's no AI that is yet capable of doing this job. Additionally, if a computer malfunctions and people die that would be quite significant. Whereas if a person messes up there's another person to step into their place. It's easier to blame one person for a mistake than an entire computer system.

That doesn't mean there couldn't be a compromise where technology makes things improve efficiency. Like switching from radar to GPS and working airplanes closer together.
I mean yes, anyone who thinks they are gonna be hearing siri and alexa on freq giving instructions is wrong, but again, if you can't envision a system in which a computer comes up with the best solution to a problem and a controller just takes a quick look and hits a button to send it, then moves on to the next click, you need to reexamine the current state of just about every industry that's been modernized over the past decade. If you think a drastic reduction in workforce once that is mainstream wouldn't follow due to the decreased workload, you'd be wrong.

If I had to guess, it'll start as a center thing, then filter down to the terminal radar environment. Towers handling lots of GA and pattern work probably represent the biggest problems, but it's not unsolvable by someone smarter than me (there's lots of those around).

ATC at its base is just a series of if A, then B equations. Computers excel at exactly that type of job.

Will there always be a dude there to ensure emergencies get handled expiditiously and safely, ensuring the proper data is being pushed thru, there to give a command or two the old fashioned way if something fails to send, etc? Ya probably, skynet isnt taking over tomorrow. But big time automation is coming, rest assured.
 

YouAppearToBeOnFire

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I mean yes, anyone who thinks they are gonna be hearing siri and alexa on freq giving instructions is wrong, but again, if you can't envision a system in which a computer comes up with the best solution to a problem and a controller just takes a quick look and hits a button to send it, then moves on to the next click, you need to reexamine the current state of just about every industry that's been modernized over the past decade. If you think a drastic reduction in workforce once that is mainstream wouldn't follow due to the decreased workload, you'd be wrong.

If I had to guess, it'll start as a center thing, then filter down to the terminal radar environment. Towers handling lots of GA and pattern work probably represent the biggest problems, but it's not unsolvable by someone smarter than me (there's lots of those around).

ATC at its base is just a series of if A, then B equations. Computers excel at exactly that type of job.

Will there always be a dude there to ensure emergencies get handled expiditiously and safely, ensuring the proper data is being pushed thru, there to give a command or two the old fashioned way if something fails to send, etc? Ya probably, skynet isnt taking over tomorrow. But big time automation is coming, rest assured.
I can see the point in partial versus full AI. Though I think you overestimate the ability of computers to still process information accurate. You're talking about a computer taking a verbal command and generating an accurate response thousands of times per shift. How many times have you used voice to text and it change the wording around?

Though I would assume the idealation would be to have the pilot with the ability to have a similar system on board. So now you're talking about airliners overhauling the cockpit so the pilot doesn't really have to talk except in emergencies. Now you have the airliners having to upgrade components as well the FAA updating their systems.

I'm not disagreeing with your points nor am I saying it isn't possible. I'm saying I could start tomorrow at the academy and probably retire before that goes into effect. Look at NextGen and how long that's taken to implement as well as how behind they were as they were updating it. By the time the first facilities were operational and moving into more upgrades the initial facilities were already outdated again.

I don't think anyone has anything to worry about anytime soon is all I'm getting at. Especially if the push is for almost entirely full automation.
 

Nhstadt

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I can see the point in partial versus full AI. Though I think you overestimate the ability of computers to still process information accurate. You're talking about a computer taking a verbal command and generating an accurate response thousands of times per shift. How many times have you used voice to text and it change the wording around?

Though I would assume the idealation would be to have the pilot with the ability to have a similar system on board. So now you're talking about airliners overhauling the cockpit so the pilot doesn't really have to talk except in emergencies. Now you have the airliners having to upgrade components as well the FAA updating their systems.

I'm not disagreeing with your points nor am I saying it isn't possible. I'm saying I could start tomorrow at the academy and probably retire before that goes into effect. Look at NextGen and how long that's taken to implement as well as how behind they were as they were updating it. By the time the first facilities were operational and moving into more upgrades the initial facilities were already outdated again.

I don't think anyone has anything to worry about anytime soon is all I'm getting at. Especially if the push is for almost entirely full automation.
You realize most of these planes already recieve clearances via text on the acars/datacom right? It's a simple as pushing command instructions and pilot requests thru a system the pilots already have onboard. In fact, you'd have to talk to an oceanic sector center guy, but I think they already do this to an extent on the big transoceanic flights. Again, I'm not talking siri and Alexa taking and making commands here, because yes voice to text would be a shit show.

And again, no, you can't do this job better than a computer. Sorry hate to break it to you, we aren't special. Being a controller doesn't take good will hunting, beautiful mind- level mental skills. It's just task management and knowing rules to play the game by. Computers are really really good at task management and acting within a set of parameters. In fact that's maybe a computers greatest strength over a human brain. It wouldn't know how to break the rules to begin with.

The individual tasks we do when broken down to their bases are not near the complexity that would overwhelm even a pretty basic computer program. As we all know the complexity in sorting most air traffic problems out is a) volume and b) being able to do more than one thing at a time (multitasking/task switching). Computers beat the human brain at those things big time, as well as being given sets of rules to play by and doing things inside those parameters.

You don't need AI. It doesn't have to "think", just do what we already know how to do. Just a good program would get it done. AI is about thinking on its own and doing things autonomously and making its own rules. Certainly an air traffic AI system would probably be even more effecient, but that's not what we are talking and not what's needed. Automation of tasks is a completely different thing than machine learning and thinking and absolutely feasible with current tech.

As far as rollout within most current controllers careers.... The computing strength is there. The data transfer tech is there. It's a matter of system development and implementation, which yes, in .gov time can be decades, I agree. That doesn't make it out of the realm of possibility for someone who is fairly new who will have a 2 to 3 decade career. I mean I'm 7 years in and fully expect to see the beginnings of this before I retire.

Controllers who think they are special mental snowflakes whose job is safe from automation are fooling themselves, sorry.
 

F2TH

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Does anyone know which center don't currently use ERAM? According to the FAA website it says only 20 Center use ERAM plus the academy.
 

spider

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Messages
115
You realize most of these planes already recieve clearances via text on the acars/datacom right? It's a simple as pushing command instructions and pilot requests thru a system the pilots already have onboard. In fact, you'd have to talk to an oceanic sector center guy, but I think they already do this to an extent on the big transoceanic flights. Again, I'm not talking siri and Alexa taking and making commands here, because yes voice to text would be a shit show.

And again, no, you can't do this job better than a computer. Sorry hate to break it to you, we aren't special. Being a controller doesn't take good will hunting, beautiful mind- level mental skills. It's just task management and knowing rules to play the game by. Computers are really really good at task management and acting within a set of parameters. In fact that's maybe a computers greatest strength over a human brain. It wouldn't know how to break the rules to begin with.

The individual tasks we do when broken down to their bases are not near the complexity that would overwhelm even a pretty basic computer program. As we all know the complexity in sorting most air traffic problems out is a) volume and b) being able to do more than one thing at a time (multitasking/task switching). Computers beat the human brain at those things big time, as well as being given sets of rules to play by and doing things inside those parameters.

You don't need AI. It doesn't have to "think", just do what we already know how to do. Just a good program would get it done. AI is about thinking on its own and doing things autonomously and making its own rules. Certainly an air traffic AI system would probably be even more effecient, but that's not what we are talking and not what's needed. Automation of tasks is a completely different thing than machine learning and thinking and absolutely feasible with current tech.

As far as rollout within most current controllers careers.... The computing strength is there. The data transfer tech is there. It's a matter of system development and implementation, which yes, in .gov time can be decades, I agree. That doesn't make it out of the realm of possibility for someone who is fairly new who will have a 2 to 3 decade career. I mean I'm 7 years in and fully expect to see the beginnings of this before I retire.

Controllers who think they are special mental snowflakes whose job is safe from automation are fooling themselves, sorry.
But what he said was absolutely right. Nobody currently employed has anything to worry about -- he didn't say it will never happen.

The technology simply isn't here right now. Conflict predictions are often wrong or non-existent and you can definitely throw that away during weather.

Maybe you should go visit your buddies at DFW, ZFW, & D10 and tell them how you've got everything figured out at ADS. I'm sure they'll be very open to your perspective.
 

Beyondatc

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But what he said was absolutely right. Nobody currently employed has anything to worry about -- he didn't say it will never happen.

The technology simply isn't here right now. Conflict predictions are often wrong or non-existent and you can definitely throw that away during weather.

Maybe you should go visit your buddies at DFW, ZFW, & D10 and tell them how you've got everything figured out at ADS. I'm sure they'll be very open to your perspective.
This is too funny. If this person said this at a large tracon they would be roasted so bad and probably get a new nickname.
 

Nhstadt

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But what he said was absolutely right. Nobody currently employed has anything to worry about -- he didn't say it will never happen.

The technology simply isn't here right now. Conflict predictions are often wrong or non-existent and you can definitely throw that away during weather.

Maybe you should go visit your buddies at DFW, ZFW, & D10 and tell them how you've got everything figured out at ADS. I'm sure they'll be very open to your perspective.
I've moved on, and no it's not there yet..... But it will be at some point and probably sooner rather than later (in government time of course, not talking next week).

Moreover I don't see what one's facility level has to do with having an opinion on this. Nice attempt at a dig I guess?
 

spider

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115
I've moved on, and no it's not there yet..... But it will be at some point and probably sooner rather than later (in government time of course, not talking next week).

Moreover I don't see what one's facility level has to do with having an opinion on this. Nice attempt at a dig I guess?
He made all very valid points and simply said that he doesn't think anyone has anything to worry about right now and you labeled him as a mental snowflake.

And yes...your facility level has a lot to do if you want to start talking complexity and how basic something is. Sorry, but every single Level 5 controller I've seen transfer in has absolutely sucked and half have had the "When are you going to recommend me" attitude. Um, I don't know but probably if and when you ever decide to not suck. That's probably a good guess.
 

Nhstadt

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He made all very valid points and simply said that he doesn't think anyone has anything to worry about right now and you labeled him as a mental snowflake.

And yes...your facility level has a lot to do if you want to start talking complexity and how basic something is. Sorry, but every single Level 5 controller I've seen transfer in has absolutely sucked and half have had the "When are you going to recommend me" attitude. Um, I don't know but probably if and when you ever decide to not suck. That's probably a good guess.
Cool story bro 🤷‍♂️. I guess I'll just keep my opinions to myself on this totally opinion related thread and let you guys with the magnum level 12 dongs talk about your godlike intellect and superior grasp on the realities of computing power compared to your big girthy brain. Makes little difference to me.
 

CaptainObvious

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Cool story bro 🤷‍♂️. I guess I'll just keep my opinions to myself on this totally opinion related thread and let you guys with the magnum level 12 dongs talk about your godlike intellect and superior grasp on the realities of computing power compared to your big girthy brain. Makes little difference to me.
I’m just here for the dongs
 

32andBelow

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Messages
571
Data Com is currently happening in the centers which is automation. There’s zero automation happening in Towers and Tracons. Centers have the luxury of having ERAM and the type of traffic that is less dynamic than a terminal environment. (I’m not trashing ARTCC).
You realize we run terminal airspace to the ground at hundreds of non towered and tower only airports right?
 
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