In an interesting article from Wired, Nicholas Thompson details some of the specifics on a Russian doomsday device that was built during the Cold War. It is a fascinating piece that, while chock full of information, seems to imply that Russian device is entirely automatic; a fact not refuted until the final paragraphs of the article. In fact, with the human “fail safe” the whole system reminded me eerily of Mordecai Roshwald’s Level 7, particularly in the last section of article when Thomspon states, with perhaps a touch of hyperbole:
Yes, I agree, a human could decide in the end not to press the button. But that person is a soldier, isolated in an underground bunker, surrounded by evidence that the enemy has just destroyed his homeland and everyone he knows. Sensors have gone off; timers are ticking. There’s a checklist, and soldiers are trained to follow checklists.