The Cybernetic Return in Human Factors/Ergonomics (HFE)


The last few years have seen resurgence in interest within human factors/ergonomics (HFE) in cybernetics. HFE has a long association with cybernetics (e.g., the influence of signal detection and control theory on studies of vigilance, visual search and human-machine systems). The panel will discuss more recent applications of cybernetics and focus on the ‘messy complexity’ and dynamic properties of 21st Century systems and a variety of issues associated with the ‘cybernetic return’ in HFE, which include: the use of communication theory to probe deeper into how specific state of minds are formed, in this case deception and recent examples of ‘fake news’ (Hancock); the integration of artificial intelligence and systems and cognitive agents (Karwowski); the control of degrees of freedom in loosely coupled work systems (e.g., emergency care – Morineau); and team dynamics, performance and coordination in complex sociotechnical systems (Guastello, Wiltshire). The panel concludes with some reflections on the past, present and future of cybernetics within HFE (Drury).

Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting