Computable Minds -

Mortal computer errors

Posted on: Aug, 27th 2011
blue screen of death
There are computer systems that can be danger to human, and when one of these system has not passed the necessary tests, then can occur mortal errors. Here I'm going to comment some of the software errors that more deaths has been left.

Occasionally appears some software error in medical equipment of radiotherapy or chemotherapy that can kill some patient by overdose, although normally when the doctors see that a patient begins to die after the use of the machine, the error is corrected. However, in the case of the Therac-25, which occured between 1985 and 1987, died six persons and a lot of more suffered sequels. I suppose that they didn't a tracing very exhaustive of the sicker. This machine allowed emit towards the patient a lethal dose of radiation before that the a metalic plate would be in front of the emitter to filter part of it. In this case the software was not been tested over the real hardware of the machine not once.

The previous case have had few victims in comparation with the systems of management of the sanitary centers. In my country, Spain, have been occured a pair of times the collapse of some hospitals due to computer errors. Also in 1990, in London, the project LASCAD, which pretends be a system of dispatch of ambulances that took into account the origin of the call, the disposable ambulances, and automate the reception of the call, the allocation of the ambulance, the comunication of the incidence and the result of the attention, was a complete failure, due to it, is estimate that died 46 persons. The project was carried out by an enterprise without experience in this kind of systems, which offered to do the application for Windows with the price more cheaper and in an imposible term (that at the end they would have to extend), so that, probably, they lost money with the project. When the system start to work a lot of problems began to appear, which produces delays, assignments of several ambulances to the same person and unattended persons. Finally, the claims of the citizens collapsed the telephone lines, and the system LASCAD was disconnected forever and the director of the ambulance service was forced to resign.

Also can occur errors in military equipment, some in fly systems of some airplanes, as the F22 Raptor of the US, which had a bug that caused that when it passed through of the meridian, the clock was fell behind one day and blocked the navigation system, comunications and weapons. Other error of a fly system caused that one of the first Eurofighter that had the spanish air force, was crashed in a test that consist in simulate a fail of one of the engines of the plane, shutting off it to see how reacted with only one engine. The error was that when turned off an engine the software automatically closed the fuel valve so the other engine then turned off too, although in this case didn't produce victims, because the pilots ejected themself in time. The most lethal of the errors in military equipment occurred in the Gulf war with the software that controlled a shuttle of Patriot missile. This ought localize missile enemies with a radar and intercept it, but had a little error of adjustment induced by the drift of the clock that avoided that, after several hours working without reset, could localize a missile. The result was that a Iraqi missile could not be intercepted, impacting in a barracks and killing 28 soldiers of the army of the United States.

The errors in a system of job security neither are nice, in the 2010, the software that had to decide what parts of a mine are secure for its exploitation, had an error that said that the 65% of the danger zones was secure. 29 miners died in a carbon mine of West Virgina.

These are some examples, but surely that are a lot of more. So you know don't rely in a machine that don't has been tested before.

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