20th June 2024 - 'Computer says no' – when software goes wrong

11AM LA / 2PM NY / 7PM UK

Register in advance

There are many incidents where software has failed catastrophically. From the NASA Mariner 1 spacecraft in 1962 to the UK Post Office Horizon software scandal that is still ongoing today. Not to mention the Mt. Gox Bitcoin hack in 2011 that bankrupted the company, and the less disruptive but very expensive Y2K Millennium bug in 2000. There are many  examples of software errors that have resulted in unexpected or devastating consequences on people, governments, buildings, systems and more. Most are human error, most are due to complex and badly implemented software, and a lack of testing before going live. In 2004 the UK Child Support Agency launched new software that had problems from day one, an internal memo noted the system – “was badly designed, badly tested and badly implemented” and had “over 1000 reported problems, of which 400 had no know work around”.

There is barely a day that goes by without the need to interact with multiple computer systems, we are 100% reliant on software, and not all of it is working well, none of it, we hazard to guess is completely bug free. We are very much thinking about self-driving cars, auto navigation systems, think Baltimore Bridge and the devastating Boeing 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019.

In this session we explore what went wrong, what pressures where brought to bear to get projects finished, and the ways in which we can bring best practice to our own software systems and projects. It really is time to raise awareness about the fact that these software systems are written by us, human beings who may be overworked, tired, underpaid or just not properly trained to do what we have been tasked to do.

Join the ASN to explore

  • Infamous software failures
  • Personal encounters with software errors
  • Hacking and coding errors


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