>That is why we don't have computer-piloted cars/planes/etc.
on modern planes the pilots mainly program the FMS (flight management system) and talk to the human controllers and human passengers...
the flying itself - and avoiding a ton of human errors during this - is mainly done by computers. actually including for example virtually all of the landing process. heck, most pilots get a little distressed, if they have to do a manual approach, as they lack the routine.
of course, they'd take the blame for any incident (compare to Turkish Airlines Flight 1951. bottom line is the computer grounded the plane, as it was trying to land it well before the airport, because of a defective altitude sensor. guilty? not Boeing, but the two pilots not noticing the wrong behavior of the computer.
the same would apply for the car controlling bot. a driver in charge is still mandatory. they take the blame for those 500 accidents - but still the major part of the 10k will be avoided.
assisting systems in cars will be increasing significantly over the next decade.
Yes, I fancy the idea of having RFID readers in the hands of millions and credit card / biometric passport reading software right there at the app-store.
No irony. There's NOTHING that makes (insecure) RFID vanish faster from cc/passports!
I very much fancy the idea with different icons for different error messages. It does improve the recognition of 'something special going on', as I can say from some pretty small samples where I could test that.
Two downsides remained:
a) Users DID (as they reported later) recognize a special message ('with that picture of a puppy') being presented. But they did not get the message at all (reading - understanding - correcting the problem wasn't improved)
b) The more different icons got involved, the more people just got confused. They just thought of the application as 'a little bit' funny
What got me better results is incorporating the error message into the actual working ui. Think of red boxes around fields that are not properly filled. Say if they break something while entering some customer data, let the whole customer data form turn angry-red or mildly-orange - or maybe just parts.
Highlight broken parts where they should go and fix something. They would only do it, if it got some value for them. If they are responsible for a customer telephone number to be correct, they'd care about a red phone number field. Otherwise they wouldn't.
If they want to go online with their wi-fi, they will care about a red wi-fi icon.
So my advice: Don't distract with (unrelated) icons, pictures or error messages as a whole. You already got their attention on the subject that matters to them. Tell them in an easy and intuitive pattern (traffic light color) if that's ok or not.
Always remember: They care about their work, not about the inner feelings of your app!
The person who can smile when something goes wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.