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There is such a thing as Overautomation by Britt Storkson Owner, P2FlowLLC Not everything can or should be automated. It’s a proven fact, not just my opinion. The following is an excerpt from the Ontonix QCM blog. Basically, it says excessive complexity is a formidable source of fragility. If you want to make something fragile, make it very complex. Problems are guaranteed. High complexity can also mask the cause or mul- tiple causes. In fact, when a modern car has a problem with its electronics, parts of the system which may be the cause are simply replaced. Nobody fixes anything. Often, the cause of the problem is unknown and is never discovered. In highly complex systems, malfunctioning or even bad design may remain invisible for a long time. The crucial variables are often discovered by accident. Highly complex systems cannot be designed without taking complexity into account. Sounds obvi- ous, but today in engineering design, complexity is not considered as an attribute of a system, as a variable to account for when designing the system’s architecture. An example is the electronics of a modern car. “Increasingly complex gadgets in cars may be causing a rise in expensive faults and breakdowns, figures suggest. Warranty Direct, which analyzed data from 50,000 policies for cars aged three years or older over a five year period, found that the number of electrical faults rose from about 5300 in 2008, to 11,500 in 2013. The figures suggest increasingly complex electronic systems are also costing a growing amount to repair, with the average cost for fixing a fault rising from £221 to £291 during the same period. In premium cars, the costs were even higher, with the aver- age electrical repair costing £670 in a Bentley, and £757 in a Porsche. In contrast, the average repair on a Suzuki cost just £244. Although standard mechanical components, such as relays and alternators, are still the most likely items to fail, the figures show more modern technology, like parking sensors, are now also among the most common causes for complaint. Specialized equipment is often needed to diagnose and fix electrical problems, while in some of the newest models only fran- chised dealers are able to access systems for repair, adding to the cost of repairs.” [Back to my comments.] This underscores my assertion that more complexity solely increases costs and otherwise offers no benefits except for the vendor (seller) who profits from more sales. For those of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on: At a computer expo COMDEX (that ran from 1979 to 2003), Bill Gates was reported to have compared the computer industry with the auto industry and said: “If GM [General Motors] had kept up with the technology like the computer industry, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1000 miles to the gallon.” In response to Bill’s comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics: 1. For no reason whatsoever your car would crash twice a day. 2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car. 3. Occasionally, your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue and for some reason, you would simply accept this. 4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine. 5. The oil, water temperature, and alter- nator warning lights would all be replaced by a single “This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation” warning light. 6. The airbag system would ask “Are you sure?” before deploying. 7. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed ahold of the radio antenna. 8. Every time a new car was introduced, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same man- ner as the old car. 9. You’d have to press the “Start” button to turn the engine off. Britt Britt Storkson may be contacted via e-mail to michele@ 28 JUNE 2020 WorldWide Drilling Resource ®