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The problem of automation: Inappropriate feedback and interaction, not overautomationAs automation increasingly takes its place in industry, especially high-risk industry, it is often blamed for causing harm and increasing the chance of human error when failures occur. It is proposed that the problem is not the presence of automation, but rather its inappropriate design. The problem is that the operations are performed appropriately under normal conditions, but there is inadequate feedback and interaction with the humans who must control the overall conduct of the task. When the situations exceed the capabilities of the automatic equipment, then the inadequate feedback leads to difficulties for the human controllers. The problem is that the automation is at an intermediate level of intelligence, powerful enough to take over control that which used to be done by people, but not powerful enough to handle all abnormalities. Moreover, its level of intelligence is insufficient to provide the continual, appropriate feedback that occurs naturally among human operators. To solve this problem, the automation should either be made less intelligent or more so, but the current level is quite inappropriate. The overall message is that it is possible to reduce error through appropriate design considerations.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Norman, Donald A.
(California Univ., San Diego La Jolla, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 1989
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.26:186126
Meeting Information
Meeting: Discussion Meeting on Human Factors in High-Risk Situations
Location: London
Start Date: June 28, 1989
End Date: June 29, 1989
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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