System Complexity Hits Home

Discovery News article on the complexity of computer systems in domestic cars, prompted by the recent Toyota recall. Hat tip to Donald Firesmith for the link on LinkedIn.

More lines of code than F22 / F35 / B787 / A380 avionics systems.

I have experienced that complexity myself recently. Last year I bought a new car and was staggered to discover a 500-page manual explaining its operations, along with a 200-page companion manual for the GPS and radio systems. One of the new features touted was the much larger glove compartment, a size probably dictated by that of the required manuals.

And nobody reads the manual any more, anyway. Interesting to compare the modular replace vs repair consequences as “the system” gets this complex, with say Crawford’s messages in “The Case for Working with your Hands“. Will humans ever really “buy” the loss of control, the detachment from the real.

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