New high-end cars are among the most sophisticated machines on the planet, containing 100 million or more lines of code. Compare that with about 60 million lines of code in all of Facebook or 50 million in the Large Hadron Collider.
The Gelles, Tabuchi, and Dolan NYT piece is interesting throughout. I thought of a parallel with empirical research in economics. In the 1980s, often you could pick up a research paper and know rather quickly how good it was, if only by glancing at the basic technique and source of data. These days the model, estimation, and data collection are so complicated and non-transparent that the errors, however large or small they be, are very difficult to find.