Dr. V.E.”Bill” Haloulakos is an AIAA National Distinguished Lecturer and a contributor to The Business Thinker. Aerospace Science Consultant/Professor; AIAA National Distinguished Lecturer and Legacy Member; Distinguished Engineering Educator Award Winner.
On June 21, 2013, the longest day of the year, an item in the evening news reported that Southwest Airlines’ computer crashed and as a result all their flight operations came to a halt. Not only their planes could not take off, they had big problems with landings as well. About two months prior to that, American Airlines experienced a similar computer system failure resulting in hundreds of flights being delayed or cancelled. As a matter of fact such system breakdowns and complete business stoppage happens to banks, supermarkets and all types of business establishments large and small.
It seems that we have come to accept such major business interruptions as “normal” in spite of the great inconveniences they cause. Perhaps this is because we may feel that we can not question the nerds that may be the causes of all this by having sold us all these digital “gizmos” that are supposedly helping us in and easing our daily lives. Who might these “nerds” be? Apple’s Steve Jobs, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Dell’s Larry Ellison, or who knows who else? Actually none of these are the true causes of the computerization and the digitization of our lives. Yes they developed and sold us the modern gadgets from the desktops to the laptops and the handhelds, along with the requisite operating, software that we seem to be so enamored with and we definitely feel unable or unwilling to do without.