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From human-machine interaction to human-machine cooperation

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Since the 1960s, the rapid growth of information systems has led to the wide development of research on human-computer interaction (HCI) that aims at the designing of human-computer interfaces presenting ergonomic properties, such as friendliness, usability, transparency, etc. Various work situations have been covered-clerical work, computer programming, design, etc. However, they were mainly static in the sense that the user fully controls the computer. More recently, public and private organizations have engaged themselves in the enterprise of managing more and more complex and coupled systems by the means of automation. Modern machines not only process information, but also act on dynamic situations as humans have done in the past, managing stock exchange, industrial plants, aircraft, etc. These dynamic situations are not fully controlled and are affected by uncertain factors. Hence, degrees of freedom must be maintained to allow the humans and the machine to adapt to unforeseen contingencies. A human-machine cooperation (HMC) approach is necessary to address the new stakes introduced by this trend. This paper describes the possible improvement of HCI by HMC, the need for a new conception of function allocation between humans and machines, and the main problems encountered within the new forms of human-machine relationship. It proposes a conceptual framework to study HMC from a cognitive point of view in highly dynamic situations like aircraft piloting or air-traffic control, and concludes on the design of 'cooperative' machines.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-07-01

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