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News broadcasts featuring transport disasters or horrific road crashes never fail to capture public attention or imagination and until the emergence of antisocial media platforms many events often remained newsworthy for several weeks or even months. Following an initial flurry of instant gratification the voice of the powerful quenches anxiety and typically attenuates the risk. The plight of bereaved dependents and survivors soon becomes second hand news or yesterday evening’s sound bite. Moreover, in an era of casino capitalism with the merger of state and corporate interests, the deceased are merely categorised as roadkill or just the cost of doing business.
This paper reviews the Air France Flight 447 Airbus A330 and recent Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft disasters. It discusses the paradox of automation and the carousel of culpability with the impugning of dead pilots despite serious failures in flight control software systems. Several other tragic events in Australia are revisited, which include the Granville train disaster, the Grafton and Kempsey bus crashes and numerous critical incidents aboard Royal Australian Navy vessels. The concept of creative destruction is introduced and investigates Kondratiev waves and the emergence of artificial intelligence or robotics, which enables many ruthless corporate brigands to reduce overheads and increase profits using autonomous modes of transport.
This creates many formidable and foreboding challenges, especially regarding duty of care, negligence and compensation following the inevitable disasters. Many aggrieved families already endure an anachronistic and often sanitised coronial inquest that is merely an adversarial wolf in inquisitorial sheep’s clothing. It frequently leaves the bereaved and survivors facing an obstinate torment of injustice, a fallacy of closure and many unanswered questions, which include how can an organisation or corporation remain ethical if its only responsibility is to make a profit?