MIT responds to bizarre Trump tweet about its scientists flying planes: 'maybe we can keep the pilots'

MIT has responded to Donald Trump’s bizarre suggestion that its scientists are better at flying planes than trained pilots.

In a strange tweet posted on Tuesday morning, the president had suggested that computer scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were required to to fly new planes, because they are so “complicated”. “Pilots are no longer needed,” he wrote.

The post appeared to be a response to the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, in which 157 people were killed in a crash that had strange parallels to another accident involving the same model of plane just months before. Authorities across Europe have temporarily grounded all of the same planes in an attempt to stop further disasters.

The US has not yet taken those measures, but Mr Trump apparently sent the tweet as is response to the crash. Rather than announcing policy changes, he argued that planes are too complicated, that he doesn’t want “Albert Einstein” to be his pilot, and that MIT’s computer scientists were required to fly planes.

Now MIT has responded to the strange tweet, asking the president not to get rid of pilots, who are trained in flying those same planes.

“We’re very happy to help,” MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab wrote on Twitter. “But maybe we can keep the pilots, too?”

The message concluded with a thinking emoji and a thumbs-up.

“Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot.

“I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”

The president made no mention of the crashes of Boeing planes, but the remarks were widely understood as his response to the disasters.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents more than 26,000 flight attendants at American Airlines, called on CEO Doug Parker to “strongly consider grounding these planes until an investigation can be performed.” 

Consumer Reports called on airlines and the FAA to ground the jets until a thorough safety investigation is complete. 

The Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed six minutes after taking off for Nairobi, killing people from 35 countries. It should take five days before victims’ remains are identified, Ethiopian Airlines spokesman Asrat Begashaw told the AP. 

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