Dials versus digits

The technology generation gap is nothing new.

The digital generation gap was crisply invoked in comments made Thursday by  Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright,” former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Speaking at a CSIS forum in Washington on innovation for government effectiveness, Cartwright recalled his days as a major when he worked as a design engineer on the F-18 fighter jet. Test flights were being manned by senior pilots who’d earned their wings on older aircraft, Cartwright said, but these old-timers could not grasp that trends can be gleaned from cockpit indicators expressed as digital numbers rather than as dials and meters. “We kept having to turn the new software off,” he said.