Human-Agent Cooperation to Support Resilience
Erin K. Chiou
The Polytechnic School
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016
Santan (SANTN) 220, Polytechnic campus [map]
Free to attend
Advances in automation have led to increasingly capable machines, from adaptive algorithms to embodied social agents. Instead of operating rotely behind safety cages, new automation is moving into our more unpredictable human world. These changes shift engineering goals in some domains from reliability to resilience, or the sustained ability to adapt to future surprises as conditions evolve. Instead of people’s reliance on automation at different levels of reliability, new automation will be characterized by its ability to adapt alongside human counterparts in more dynamic situations. As automation becomes increasingly prominent in safety-critical environments like healthcare, a resilience engineering perspective may help identify system breakdowns before they occur. An overview of studies that highlights some issues facing healthcare systems today will be discussed, specifically challenges integrating people and automation. Next, a microworld environment for testing human-automation interaction in the context of coordinating with autonomous agents on a joint task will be presented. Results from the first microworld study indicate that a high-cooperation agent’s resource-sharing behaviors led to more productive exchanges with human participants than a low-cooperation agent’s resource-sharing behaviors, which led to less productive behaviors. Results also show that an initial, unexpected high-demand situation diminished proactive, requesting behaviors but did not seem to affect reactive, sharing behaviors. These findings indicate the importance of considering social exchange factors in human-automation interaction, and highlight the need for human-agent cooperation to support system resilience.
Erin Chiou is a Ph.D. candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a concentration in Human Factors and Ergonomics from University of Wisconsin – Madison, and in the past has worked for the Human Factors and Industrial Design group at Baxter Healthcare (now Baxter International). Her research interests include using microworld studies to explore dyadic exchanges between humans and technology or humans through technology, applying systems thinking to human-automation integration problems, and using mixed methods to improve technology integration in healthcare work. She received her B.S. in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.