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Source: Woods, D.D. (1993). Price of flexibility in intelligent interfaces. Knowledge-Based Systems, 6(4)., 189-196.
Source Type:   Observation
Synopsis: "Flexibility and customizability are central to the perceived advantages of the growth in technological powers. However, these and other vectors of technological change, when used clumsily, create new burdens and complexities for beleaguered human practitioners responsible for achieving goals with some field of activity. 'Intelligent interfaces' are sometimes seen as solutions to the growing demands of highly technological and highly automated fields of activity. However, data from a variety of sources indicates that an exclusively technology-driven approach to the development of intelligent interfaces is likely to provide the illusion of assistance while creating a new layer of burdens and complexities. ... My colleagues and I have been investigating the impact of technology on practitioner performance through multiple studies carried out in different domains, with different types of practitioner and different types of new technology: AI based aids for the fault management of space systems, control automation on the flightdeck in commercial aviation, and information technology for the anesthetic management of patients during surgery in operating rooms. These studies have revealed a variety of ways in which the clumsy use of technology creates new complexities that increase the potential for erroneous assessments and actions under certain circumstances and, given the presence of other factors, creates new paths to system breakdown. In addition, these studies shed some light on how technology can be used 'intelligently', or, more accurately, used skillfully, to provide practitioners with cognitive instruments. This research base will be used to explore what is needed to use technological flexibilities and powers skillfully, as opposed to clumsily, so as to increase the range of practitioner adaptive response to the variability resident in the field of activity."
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