Esteanil writes: We increasingly let computers fly planes and carry out security checks. Driverless cars are next. But is our reliance on automation dangerously diminishing our skills?
When a sleepy Marc Dubois walked into the cockpit of his own aeroplane, he was confronted with a scene of confusion. The plane was shaking so violently that it was hard to read the instruments. An alarm was alternating between a chirruping trill and an automated voice: “STALL STALL STALL.” [...] “We completely lost control of the aeroplane, and we don’t understand anything! We tried everything!”
The crew were, in fact, in control of the aeroplane. One simple course of action could have ended the crisis they were facing, and they had not tried it. But David Robert was right on one count: he didn’t understand what was happening.
Esteanil writes: Researchers in the University of Sussex's Informatics department asked pupils at a secondary school to design and program their own computer game using a new visual programming language.
The young people, aged 12-13, spent eight weeks developing their own 3D role-playing games.
The girls in the classroom wrote more complex programs in their games than the boys and also learnt more about coding.
The girls used seven different triggers – almost twice as many as the boys – and were much more successful at creating complex scripts with two or more parts and conditional clauses.
Boys nearly always chose to trigger their scripts on when a character says something, which is the first and easiest trigger to learn.
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