Throw yourself at the ground and miss

To get some idea just how much automation guides the flight of a modern airliner, watch a young woman with no previous flight experience land an Airbus A320 jet (OK, in a simulator) guided only by the verbal prompts of an instructor. Or watch the tutorial video yourself.

I wrote earlier about the automation paradox, in which automated systems are often safer than ones that are prone to human error, until something goes wrong, and the ill-prepared humans who have relied on automation have to assume control.