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Comment NASA doesn't want robots (Score 3, Interesting) 488

I was chatting with Marvin Minsky a few days ago, we started bitching about space, and he had this sad story to relate:

Once some of the ISS modules were relatively complete and ready for launch, NASA rounded up a group of dignitaries to bless it (I can't think of another reason why they were called in, and you'll see why I had more interesting things to ask about..), and he noticed an engineer really screwing up a docking procedure. He asked why they didn't just have a simple bit of robotics to handle it (any of a billion implementations would work great for something this trivial), and the answer was that NASA had dictated from high up that a human must be the operator for a wide class of tasks.

So there you have it! The space industry has some luddite motivations, which is absolutely terrifying. And unfortunately the great success of JPL/Caltech's probes gives more justification of their _small_ budgets (wow! you're so great you can keep being great with only $10 !!); I guess a large set of the administration still feels a need to justify 'manhood'. fucking retards.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb