MIT computer scientists troll Donald Trump over tweet about planes becoming ‘too complex to fly’

MIT computer scientists troll Donald Trump over tweet about planes becoming ‘too complex to fly’

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President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One during a visit to Key West, Fla., in 2018. (White House Photo)

In the wake of Sunday’s fatal Boeing 737 MAX airplane crash in Ethiopia, President Donald Trump took computer scientists to task today for making airplanes “too complex to fly.” And the computer scientists struck back.

It all took place on Twitter, of course.

To be fair, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders extended “our prayers to the loved ones, friends and family of those killed in the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302” during Monday’s press briefing, and said the administration was offering “all possible assistance.”

But Trump didn’t exactly take a sympathetic stance in this morning’s tweets:

Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019

….needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019

The crash investigation is just getting started, and experts say it’s too early to determine whether a software glitch, hardware failure, human error, intentional sabotage or other factors are at fault. It’s true that after last October’s crash of a Boeing 737 MAX jet in Indonesia, investigators focused on an automatic flight control system as potentially playing a role. But it’s not yet clear whether there’s a connection to Sunday’s crash.

Boeing, not MIT, developed the flight control systems for the 737 MAX. But that didn’t stop MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory from jumping into the fray:

We're very happy to help. But maybe we can keep the pilots, too?

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