Today's airline pilot is not hired with a physical science background. Any degree will do, or even none at all. They aren't taught systems in depth. They are forced to fly at the FAA's "Highest Level of Automation" or face discipline either via the rumor mill or the Big Brother flight data monitoring which second guesses your every wiggle "on a long management table with no coffee or biscuits for you at your end of the table" Monday morning, by some ladder-climbing management dickhead who never flies and has no idea what the hell he is talking about.
The result is that no Captain ever allows the new co-pilot to gain any hand-flying experience in raw data mode with no nanny flight protection devices on.
That co-pilot later becomes a Captain who has never really hand flown the airplane at all (except in a simulator) which is a marvelous training device, but not the real thing. Of course, with sidestick fly-by-wire design, like this accident airplane, neither pilot you're depending on ever flies the thing in "Direct Law" since it's prohibited except in the simulator.
This flight was already in "Coffin Corner" at flight level 380. It looks to me like they hit a cold front with large build ups, which could have been throwing ice at them. Radar can't see ice crystals, so just like the Air Asia A320 and the Air France AF447 A330, all the probes could have iced up and that's when both the autopilot and the auto-throttle go haywire and try to kill you. You only have a second or two to disconnect everything and hand-fly your way to safety with no instruments except what the IRU platform gives you: an attitude reference and raw engine N1.
It happened to me, over the South China Sea going around a typhoon and we barely made it home alive. Nobody believed us later, because Mr. Airbus said that could never happen. Mr. Concord said much the same thing in 2000 and that was the end of that model.
Update to my post: Well, now once again, the Airbus Empire has squirreled the back box back to their Ivory Tower and declared one pilot was out of the cockpit furiously trying to get back in the seat again, but they won't let anyone hear the audio. Just like AF447, which Airbus Industry blamed on the pilots, it looks like they are going to try that again.
How many times are we going to fall for this?
It's a 100 billion dollar industry, so both France and Airbus are never going to point the finger at themselves. Boeing would stand to make a fortune and Airbus would implode. With AF447, they claimed they couldn't find the wreckage for over a year, yet a French Frigate was parked on top of it guarding the spot where they claimed they eventually found it. I saw it there via commercial transponder website in the early days following the accident near AF447's last estimated position before it hit bad weather (50,000 foot Thunderstorms.) The ship transponder disappeared right after I pointed it out.
You can't have such secrecy present in legitimate aircraft investigation.
All my posts are just my opinions only, and I could be wrong about everything.