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False Emergency Alert of Incoming Ballistic Missile Attack

  1. Jan 13, 2018 #1


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    There's lots to blame here but I am dumbfounded at the bad computer Human Interface Design.
    What I have heard at this news conference is that basically a screen comes up with Test or Alert buttons, the guy clicks Alert instead of Test. The program then says, Are you sure you want to do this? and he clicks OK.

    What? That's the barrier between Test and a REAL Alert in a possible life critical decision tree. :frown:
    Don't ever let a person just click OK on a really, really ,really bad screen option that could be fatal. Make them type: "I want to send a REAL ALERT" then make them enter a REAL security alert code from inside a sealed envelope that's never opened during a test.

    Two person controls help but two idiots still equals zero intelligence.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2018 #2
    The key word there is "design". Most of these systems are built in a purely utilitarian way by people without design or interface experience. Get Apple to contract the work :)

    Side note: I think this is also why Linux never really took off mainstream. The computer scientist nerds didn't care at all about interface design and aesthetics.
  4. Jan 13, 2018 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    There was a similar story in the hospital setting where a nurse turned off a child patients monitor so the mother could sleep thinking it would only affect the sounds in the room. Alas it turned off all notifications everywhere and the child died.

    The hospital actively investigated the situation and helped the mother understand what happened rather than hide behind their lawyers. They also went back to the equipment manufacturer to fix the user interface and to warn other hospitals of the danger.

    The manufacturer never imagined someone would really want to turn off the alerts and so never placed a warning or safeguard to prevent or even warn the user of what would happen if they were turned off. The manufacturer also hadn’t considered levels of turn off that while the patient might not want to hear the alert, the hospital staff at the monitoring desk should still be alerted.

    The mother no works at the hospital and gave a TED talk on how this hospital reacted to the crisis.

    I felt sad for th nurse trying to do the right thing to give the mother some rest from the constant alerts but never realizing that her action turned off all alerting.
  5. Jan 13, 2018 #4


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  6. Jan 13, 2018 #5
    It is unfortunate that these things happen, causing great alarm when everything is fine. Last year, people in NZ got a notification on cell phones that could receive the notification in the middle of the night from civil defense. It was suppose to test the system but by error it happened at around 1.30/2am. I woke up thinking why my phone was making a weird noise, then text speech while it vibrated. When they did do a test of the system, advance warning was given around what time it'd occur (during the day!).

    - http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-z...-in-middle-of-the-night-waking-thousands.html
  7. Jan 13, 2018 #6


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    Reminds me of Homer Simpson's drinking duck initiating a nuclear meltdown.
  8. Jan 14, 2018 #7


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    or this one.
  9. Jan 16, 2018 #8


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  10. Jan 20, 2018 #9


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    Even if he can bang bits, Me thinks the programmer needs training in Interface Design / Human Factors....and his bosses too!
  11. Jan 23, 2018 #10
    But he tripled his productivity.
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