There's this idea for a story that I've been toying with, and I'm struggling with finding a good logical explanation for the main character's job.
It's a science-fiction story. No aliens; just humans. No quantum leaps from our present time in terms of technology or society, just your "normal" technical advancement.
The setting of the story is a space station, made up of two large perpendicular concentric rings that rotate (independently) to generate gravity. Here's a rough sketch to get the idea across (don't mind the crooked shapes -- they're meant to be round):
In order to generate earth-level gravity, they have to rotate pretty fast -- if I've done my math correctly, at a diameter of about a mile, the rotation period has to be roughly one minute.
Now this space station is the cargo base for a nearby planet, and thus it receives a huge amount of cargo space ships. Because of the rotation, it's a little tricky for the ships to line up their approach speeds and vectors correctly so they hit their docking positions on the mark while not crashing into each other.
My protagonist works as the "space version" of an air traffic controller -- constant radio contact with the approaching and departing ships, giving them velocities and directions, etc.
Now here's the part I'm struggling with: If technology is sufficiently advanced to build this space station, to have interplanetary (maybe even interstellar, I'm not sure about that yet) space travel, and so on, why would the job of guiding the ships fall on humans?
It seems that computers, communicating directly with the ships' guidance systems, could do a much better job of coordinating all that traffic.
But the premise of my story relies heavily on the fact that most major decisions about the traffic are made by human controllers, maybe only with some simple support from automated systems.
What could a reasonable explanation be for not allowing this work to be done by machines?