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  • Nancy Cooke on Human Systems Engineering

    20 Jul 2020
  • Addressing human factors in product and system design goes beyond basic functionality and convenience. Nancy Cooke explains how anticipating human behavior and motivation, as well as AI abilities and limitations, should be at the core of decision making behind city planning, product engineering, and the creation of effective models for education and law enforcement.

    Hosted by Jeff Kavanaugh, VP and Head of the Infosys Knowledge Institute.

    “Humans should have different roles and responsibilities than the robots and the AI. Humans should do what humans do best and the AI and the robots do what the AI robots do best or things that we don't want to do, like dull, dirty, dangerous things.”

    - Nancy Cooke


Show Notes

  • 00:37

    Nancy Cooke, you direct Arizona State University's Center for Human, AI and Robot Teaming. What is it about this that you find especially appealing and important for times like this?

  • 01:42

    Jeff introduces Nancy

  • 02:18

    Nancy, that's a pretty awesome list of technology and computer related responsibilities and expertise. What inspired you to pursue this academic path?

  • 03:52

    Cybersecurity often is at that base level within companies compared to the national security implications or something where people's lives are at risk. What are some of the considerations that you think about to design into these systems?

  • 04:25

    How do you think about designing for these people though, because you only know of the ones in front of you today. What about the ones for the future or the ones who may not look or think like you do?

  • 05:53

    What's new and different and novel about human factors today and what you can do compared to when you began your career?

  • 07:00

    What is it about systems design that you think about or incorporate into human factors in this whole robot human teaming?

  • 08:07

    What is it about AI and technology being a teammate of a human, what are some characteristics that can make that come more alive for people?

  • 09:15

    In your address to the Annual Meeting of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, you spoke of the grand challenges of sustainability, human health, vulnerability, and the joy of living. Given the situation we face today, can you describe these challenges in more detail?

  • 11:49

    Where in the adoption of this thinking is the broader world?

  • 13:14

    What do you see needs to happen so that human factors in this kind of thinking is front and center and adopted in mass?

  • 14:32

    Given the pandemic and given the implications, both business and health and societal, what role can human factors and this idea of teaming with humans and AI? What role can it play now?

  • 15:48

    Who are some companies or organizations out there that are getting this right?

  • 16:15

    Why do companies and organizations still get it wrong even though you've got an ergonomic society, you're getting the word out? What is it that they can do to get it right?

  • 17:10

    Are there rules of thumb, ratios or heuristics that you've seen applied as you advise companies out there?

  • 17:56

    What are some human factors or organism characteristics that can be applied to or using human factors as maybe you can apply it from nature to an organization or company?

  • 19:20

    What are some specific technologies that you're excited about that can help advance the cause of human factors engineering?

  • 19:59

    You once spoke of an inspirational trip to Medellín. For a city that was once the murder capital of the world, what lessons did that trip teach you about societal transformation?

  • 22:15

    If you have some young person who is looking to go in this as a career, what are some guidance or some recommendations or counsel you might be able to provide them if they think about this as a career, or maybe doing some of these things and incorporate them into their profession, whatever they do?

  • 25:24

    What's been your most interesting experience and learning from that?

About Nancy Cooke

Nancy Cooke

Nancy J. Cooke is a professor of Human Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. She directs ASU’s Center for Human, Artificial Intelligence, and Robot Teaming under the Global Security Initiative. She is Past President of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and Associate Editor of Human Factors. Dr. Cooke is a National Associate of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and is fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Association for Psychological Science, American Psychological Association, and International Ergonomics Association.

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