Why Computer Bugs are one of the most dangerous things on earth

in #programming3 years ago

Rockets, Cars or Nuclear Weapons everything from home use to govermental use is controlles by computers. But what happens if these systems bug or crash? To answer that question, this post will be a list of events of the past that had or at least could have had a giant negative impact.

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True stories

The false nuclear missile alarm

In the year  1983 a nuclear attack from the USA has been scanned by mistake in the soviet uninion. The system reported 6 missiles aiming at it. If this alarm had been given the treatment it should have been given, a war had started and ended the history of mankind. So why didn's something happen? It's easy the person responsible for reacting to the alarm  Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov had the feeling the alarm was a false alarm and didn't respond to it. Therefore he is the man who  single-handedly  saved the world.

Charged Partical in belgian election

2003 in the belgian city Schaerbeek a charged partical from a supernova somehere in the universe hit an electronic voting mashine and caused something called a bit flip meaning, that one bit changed from a 0 to a 1, creating a chain reaction and adding over 4000 votes to one of the candidates of their local election. If this wouldn't have been noticed, the wrong person would hae gotten elected that year.

Google accidentaly shutting down japanese internet

2017 a google employee updated an internet routing table, that's responsible to direct people to certain sites if they click a link for example. Unfortunately thoug, the employee added some japanees telecoms and other sites  to their list, saying that google would own them, meaning people who wanted to access a site would sometimes be brought to the worng page o no page at all, this could have caused giant damage. Luckily thoug, google fixed that problem after a few minutes.

Scenarios that may happen in the future

AI Bugs

If an artificial intelligence would have a bug in the future it could just shut down or go as far as to try to kill all of mankind, as it may think, that we'd be a threat to it and therefore it'd have to defeat us.

Nuclear War

Maybe it would be like the first real event or a missile that was shot accidentally. We obvieously don't know. Hopefully at no point in the future we'll have to fight a nuclear war in the first part.


Bugs are something pretty dangerous implemented in something important and therefore everybody should programm as clean and easy to fix as possible