The future of the pilot career with AI introduction.


I know there is similiar topic to this ( In the future will Aircraft be flown by pilots or computers? ), but it’s closed, and has more than a year, a year in with a lot of new advances in AI technology, so anyways if a mod would like to close this, it’s ok.

Nowadays the automation and application of AI to everything is becoming a reality, from cars to drones, from boats to public transport. How much longer do you think it will take for the planes to be AI controlled too, leaving the pilots aside?

I believe that it will be a gradual process since there is a legal liability issue in case of accidents (the airline needs someone to blame if something happens to the aircraft), but this will probably disappear when people get used to using other transports with artificial intelligence; if people are already ok with getting into an automated and AI controlled bus or train, wich as we know is far more dangerous to your life (traffic accidents vs air accidents ratio), and automated AI controlled drones like the one that Uber is building with NASA, how far are we from AI pilots controlling commercial airlines.

With AI hacking is a thing of the past (something that Elon Musk said), because the AI itself doesn`t really need to be “connected” to the internet, and really, you could already hack nowadays planes in certain ways, specially the new ones, with all the electronic technology in them.

I would like to add that we should`nt think as AI as another computer, nowadays AIs are using ANNs wich means artificial neural networks, wich is very similar to our brain, it can learn from it’s errors (machine learning) and detect anything 1000 times faster than humans, so this technology erases the 0s and 1s of the map.

I would also like to add the economic factor, airlines will be happy to pay less salaries, and stop having problems with unions, as the case of Avianca a few months ago, or the error for Christmas vacations now with American Airlines.

So, what do you think?



I’ve spoken to a lot of pilots on this as well as some engineers, and most of them said that while we may be able to achieve aircraft that can fly themselves, there will always have to be a pilot in the cockpit or at least present. Like you said, due to safety concerns with a plane at 35,000 ft. + filled with passengers who can’t do anything if anything goes wrong, it’s most likely safe to say that pilots aren’t in danger of losing their jobs due to automation.


Yes, as you say i think the first step will be to actually replace the first officer with an AI, an see how that works. That why im talking about 30+ years.

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When it comes to this, people often say something along the lines of:

“Small aspects will be replaced, but the pilot will still be there and will still be flying the plane.”
My problem with this assumption, and with this point of view in general, is that it ignores the fact that this stuff is exponential. 300 years ago there wasn’t a vapor machine. 100 years ago there weren’t computers. 20 years ago there weren’t smartphones. 10 years ago there wasn’t machine learning.
This stuff changes quickly, very quickly. The future holds things for us that are unimaginable for us today. Making a prediction now just seems… useless.

By the way I am no engeeer or programmer or cumputer scientist or something, so don’t take my word for it.


True that, we can’t really see what’s coming in the next 20 years, just like 20 years ago we had no clue of how was it going to be now.

PD: I’m from Chile too.

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Personally, I don’t think airplanes will be fully automated until maybe 60-70 years from now, as the FAA would be very strict about the lives of people on the planes.

About this, a question comes to my mind, what about the automated transportation drones currently in development, would they need FAA approval too?


Anything that flies (that’s more than a pound ish) needs to be cleared by the FAA or something connected to the FAA. This applies for drones, and even large RC planes.

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