Automation Myths and the Virtues of Human-Machine Teaming

A number of widely-held beliefs underlie much of the popular discussion about automation, and also many of the government funding programs aimed at developing advanced technology. These include myths about autonomy, function allocation, compensation for human limitations, and automation as a substitution for people. These myths are not only misleading, but can be costly because they engender a host of serious misconceptions for policy makers thinking and for engineers.

In this presentation we will review these myths and then counter them with the alternative view of human-machine teaming. This focuses design on teamwork, rather than taskwork. Specifically it focuses on interdependent activity, rather than independent work. It focuses on lifetime resilience rather than short-term procurement costs. Successful human-machine teamwork requires more than an engineering solution to the machine capabilities. It also requires a holistic view that takes into account the requirements of the entire human-machine work system in its application context.

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