Kathy Gibson reports – Technology innovations are constant, and have brought us a long way in what is, in reality, just a few years.

Trainer Warren Shaw speaks at a Pinnacle event for SME partners about complementary opposites: these are not simply two separate forces in opposition to one another, they are two halves of a single system, two side of the same coin.

“One creates and feeds the other in an endless cycle – like breathing in and breathing out,” he explains.

As we move into the realm of artificial intelligence, this concept still plays out, he adds, with people and technology reliant on one another.

An actual airline pilot, Age Boschma, says AI is already working in several areas of his work.

These include navigation and emergency procedures – both absolutely critical for the safe operation of the machine.

Events can trigger automated AI processes, and even take control of the aircraft in some instances.

Aircraft will soon be coming to market that are ready for single-pilot operation, and it’s AI the is making this possible, Boschma says.

The new technology is going to come in as new machines come to market, he adds, in the same way that newer computer hardware is necessary for the latest operating systems.

Self-flying aircraft could soon be a reality, with the pilot acting almost as the co-pilot, Boschma says. It might take a while for passengers to get used to the idea, though.

Some issues still need to be decided. For instance, would the machine or the human have the final word in an unexpected situation?

In addition, as with all users, pilots have to become accustomed to using AI, and ensuring that they use it to the best effect.

“The problem is that there are some things you cannot control. Hacking is a big issue – there have been instances of outside hacking into aircraft systems.

“If something happens to the automated system, we need to ensure that pilots still retain their ability to fly the machine. They have to be training in what to do if they are on their own.

“And we have to decide who is ultimately in command of the aircraft.”