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Business
23 Jun 2017

The earthquake alarm that buzzed 92 years late

Earthquake alert for California via computer glitch

According to the proverb, to err was only human but with time things change and the erring part gets extended to machines too.

All news organizations in the USA suddenly received a computer generated email alert, which warned them about a massive earthquake off the coast of California. It was a legitimate alert, however, it was also 92 years late.

Here's all about it.

In context

Earthquake alert for California via computer glitch
What caused this anomaly?

California

What caused this anomaly?

This guffaw was the result of a computer error, which made the US Geological Survey (USGS) raise a false alarm regarding an earthquake of magnitude 6.8.

It wasn't entirely misplaced, an earthquake did happen in 1925 at the coast of California, which decimated the city of Santa Barbara, claiming lives. The computer misinterpreted the data and ended up raising an alarm out of nowhere.

Alarm

No harm done

If an earthquake had been truly in its wake, it would have been one of the largest recorded ones in modern times at California coast. Although organizations brushed off the alert, as it was dated 29 June 2025; LA Times which uses AI-based software to quickly publish USGS alerts ended up issuing a letter citing the alarm notice.

Thankfully there was no panic.

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Meanwhile, a survey by machine experts has fuelled the degree of discomfort among those who worry about machines taking over the world; as the report says, within 120 years, all human jobs will become automated.

In 45 years half of the jobs, that are currently held by humans, will be taken over by artificial intelligence systems, adds the report.

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