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O que mais tem por aí é montadora colocando o rabinho entre as pernas e convocando proprietários para fazer recall de seus automóveis. O Clive Thompson nos ajuda a entender, lembrando de um episódio do começo dos anos 90.

Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated: “If GM had kept up the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving twenty-five dollar cars that got 1,000 miles per gallon.”

Recently General Motors addressed this comment by releasing the statement: “Yes, but would you want your car to crash twice a day?”

Voltando agora ao presente:

The electronic systems in modern cars and trucks — under new scrutiny as regulators continue to raise concerns about Toyota vehicles — are packed with up to 100 million lines of computer code, more than in some jet fighters.

“It would be easy to say the modern car is a computer on wheels, but it’s more like 30 or more computers on wheels,” said Bruce Emaus, the chairman of SAE International’s embedded software standards committee.

Bizarro, um carro tem mais programação que um avião!

Automakers have a vested and capitalistic interest in making sure their cars don’t crash, so I’m sure they’re pretty careful. But it’s practically a law of nature that when code gets huge, bugs multiply; the software becomes such a sprawling ecosystem that no single person can ever visualize how it works and what might go wrong. Worse, it’s even harder to guarantee a system’s beahvior when it’s in the hands of millions of users, all behaving in idiosyncratic ways. They are the infinite monkeys bashing at the keyboard, and if there’s a bug in there somewhere, they’ll uncover it — and, if they do so while travelling 50 miles an hour, possibly kill themselves.

Atualização: Para minha vergonha, o Sílvio Meira escreveu hoje sobre o mesmo assunto. Nem preciso dizer que o texto dele é MUITO melhor que o meu, né?

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