I apologize if this has been posted before, but if so, I would appreciate if y’all could link me to it.
I understand that there will be short-term highs and lows (such as 2020, 2008, 2001, etc.) but overall, should I expect the job of the pilot to diminish in the future? We generally talk about how “1-pilot” cockpits or “AI/Computers” won’t take over yet, but 20/30 years sounds like a good amount of time for these technologies to evolve and be polished. Therefore, I was wondering what your view of the pilot job outlook in 20 years? 30 years?
You’re correct, there are MANY threads on the subject (and I recommend you search and do some reading). Long short I don’t see anything happening any time soon and even when it does you won’t wake up the next day and find single pilot cockpits everywhere. You know when the first plane with autoland flew? In the early 60s. That was almost 60yrs ago but does every commercial aircraft in the world have autoland? Far from it. We’ve had glass cockpits since the early 70s but again there are many planes still flying with steam gauges. That’s about the same time they started getting rid of Flight Engineers and we even have some of those guys still around. And this is considerably more challenging.
My point is just because a technology exists (which btw we’re still far from the RELIABLE tech for AI single pilot aircraft) the industry is not going to park all the thousands of perfectly good airplanes overnight, in a week, month or year. It’s going to be a very long process and again that’s when they get there.
Long short I’d worry more about the new vaccine starting the Zombie Apocalypse than Delta flying drones.
I’ve always argued that AI is not an appropriate substitute for the unpredictable dynamic environment with which pilots operate in. Technology is buggy, it breaks, it has limitations, it can be hacked, and it cannot improvise. The two pilot system is irreplaceable, IMO.
I am not remotely worried about the threat from automation in the cockpit. A few things to look at here, to begin with, Boeing is not exactly winning any awards with the automation on their 737 Max or their failed Starliner spacecraft. The technology just is not there to replace pilots and likely never will be. Many of the articles one reads on this topic are written by engineers or computer guys at IT companies, these are not pilots and they have a very limited understanding of what is involved in flying an airplane outside of an absolutely perfect environment, which never happens.
Think about the railroads, those are not even automated yet and they operate in one dimension, forwards and backwards.
Adam, Chris, and Tory, thank you for your insights! Those are some good points!
Any time. But seriously, when they get get the automated “Air Train” at the Newark Airport to operate reliably, which will never happen, I will start to worry.