Yesterday morning the engine light on my car flashed yellow, and I had trouble reaching high RPM on the highway. I immediately stopped and called the road assistance. They suggested that I drive the car to the dealership as soon as possible, which I did. Quickly, the service representative diagnosed that the car had a firmware issue and ordered a reprogramming.
The problem is that the PC that was reprogramming the firmware crashed in the middle of the operation and now the car is FUBAR. I was even unable to open the truck by pushing the corresponding button. We are now waiting for a technician to show up with a laptop and fix the car.
This shows how dependent we are on computers and software in so many unconscious ways. Here, we have a computer crashing in the shop, that in turn renders another computer, the on-board CPU, inoperable.
This is nothing original. I am sure that it is a common occurrence and the news stories on different Toyota models illustrates how software bugs can be life threatening in some instances.
Where will we be in ten years from now? What can we expect from our cars, or other common devices that have existed for decades before the birth of computers?
I am certainly a Luddite but I sometimes wonder about this love-hate relationship I have with computers. I cannot live without them and they like to remind me.
This also reminds me that I need to pay more attention to QA on my day job. :-)
Original photo by oskay.