Human Factors Interest Group (HFIG) Seminar: A Conceptual Framework of Autonomy and the Relation to Automation

Thursday, December 8, 2016

5 King's College Rd.

HFIG is happy to host a talk by Dr. David Kaber titled A Conceptual Framework of Autonomy and the Relation to Automation. The abstract of the talk and the bio of the speaker can be found below. Location will be in MC 331 Mechanical Engineering Building. 5 King’s College Road on Thursday, Dec 8th at 4:30PM

Recent research in human-automation interaction has confused the concepts of “automation” and “autonomy” and has critiqued theories of automation in human-systems in terms of aspects of autonomy. This situation is critical as system labels create expectations for design and “failure” to meet misdirected expectations can lead to inaccurate criticism of methods. I seek to differentiate the concepts of automation and autonomy by presenting a new framework of agents. The framework is complemented by general observations on the characteristics of automated vs. autonomous systems, identification of error and failure modes, and formulation of a matrix of design constraints that dictate possible applications of each type of agent. Some discussion will be provided on “levels of automation” along with “types of autonomy”. A definition of autonomy will be mutated throughout the talk towards a form with utility for engineering purposes. The main findings of the research are that demands
of automated agents on human-task-environment systems should be absent from design of autonomous agents and design of automated systems remains “automation-centric” despite our best efforts at “human-centered” approaches.

David Kaber is a Distinguished Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and an associate faculty member in Biomedical Engineering and Psychology. He is Director of Research for the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina and a NIOSH-sponsored Occupational Safety and Ergonomics education and research program at NC State. His current research interests include virtual reality simulation design for motor task learning, human performance and workload management in multitasking with cognitive and physical demands, and electronic medical record design for usability. Kaber received his PhD from Texas Tech University in 1996. He is a fellow of the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers and the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society.

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