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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.

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