Global Perspectives on the Ecology of Human-Machine Systems - Vol. 1

By John Flach; Peter Hancock et al. | Go to book overview
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Chapter 2
On Human Factors

Peter A. Hancock University of Minnesota

Mark H. Chignell University of Toronto


The Secret of Machines

We can pull and haul and push and lift and drive,
We can print and plough and weave and heat and light,
We can run and race and swim and fly and drive,
We can see and hear and count and read and write
. . .

But remember please, the Law by which we live,
We are not built to comprehend a lie.
We can neither love nor pity nor forgive -
If you make a slip in handling us, you die.


2.0 Introduction and Overview

This chapter develops a descriptive theoretical structure for human factors. The structure is based on a view of technology as the principal method through which humans expand their bounds of perception and action but also as the medium through which control is arbitrated in systems of increasing complexity and abstraction which explore the new 'territory' revealed. The theory presents a broad rationale for the contemporary impetus in human factors and historical motivations for its growth. It is suggested that human factors is unlike other traditional divisions of knowledge and is more than the mere haphazard

-14-

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