In his article posted in RISKS forum of 15th October 1990, Robert Dorsett made a comment about the A320/human interface which triggered a "respond NOW" action in me. I am a psychologist working at ORNL in human factors — the study of the way people and their machinery (for work or play) interact. Dorsett said: >I suggest (again) that the way the airplane interacts with the pilot is >at LEAST as important as component-wise reliability. I say: YOU BET!!! My work in human factors (HF) for various projects, some involving computerized interfaces, some not, has yielded various comments. The worst kind is: "HF is just common snese." Oh, yea? Then why have we had SO MANY instances of poorly designed devices creating "human error", aka "pilot error" in the cases of the A320 and other aircraft crashes? Another major porblem, also suggested in Dorsett's posting, is the use of HF consultation. The prevailing modus operandi has traditionally been to design the system, call in the HF consultants for evaluation, then have them design a training program to "train around" the problems designed into the system. Such training will "work" adequately until a major off-normal event (like TMI), when the operator is unable to react properly to (interact properly with?) the mis-designed system. As we come to design and install more and more complex computerized interfaces between the machinery and the humans using it, we run the serious risk of making even greater design errors, many of which will not show up at all until a major off-normal occurrence comes along. The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into these interfaces adds an additional dimension along which design errors will propagate. These concerns have been very adequately covered in the postings on the Aegis system (Expert System in the Loop postings), although there WAS no ES in that system. Several of us at ORNL are involved in research into the use of AI in "operator associates" for various settings. The potential for using intelligent icomputerized interfaces is already being explored in a variety of settings, but many issues remain to be settled, as the Aegis discussion has highlighted. These issues need BASIC research directed to answer the questions raised. In this era of increasingly tight budgets, however, finding support for that basic research is very difficult. Hrowever, if we don't address these issues, there will continue to be an increased number of "operator error" accidents analogous to the A320 "pilot error" crashes. The usual disclaimers apply: These opinions are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of ORNL, the Department of Energy, or Martin Marietta Energy Systems. email: firstname.lastname@example.org@UMCGATE@OAX Phil Spelt bldg 6025, ms 6364 POBox 2008 Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6364
>From CompuServe's Online Today Forum Data Libraries: MONITOR MONTH IN REVIEW September 1990 FEDS SEIZE COMPUTERS IN KY. TOWN (Sept. 2): Federal agents over the weekend seized computer equipment from a Nancy, Ky., business office when it was learned that the computers might contain secret government files. The owner of Challenger Ltd., Charles Hayes, said federal marshals came 70 miles from the US attorney's office in Lexington, Ky., to seize nine computer terminals, a computer memory device and other equipment which were purchased from the government for $45." This shows a Risk from computer equipment you are trying to get rid of. Make sure you are only getting rid of the equipment, and not giving away copies of your data! A tape bulk-eraser probably does a nice job on old tapes and hard drives. Mark Freeman Microcomupter Technology Specialist/Analyst CompuServe M.Freeman@CSI.CompuServe.COM
> The system must have used some kind of voice-recognition algorithm, > because no human typist that I know could have kept up with the > speaker at times. I very strongly doubt this. I would bet a substantial sum of money that there was a stenographer and not a computer capturing the words. > The weakness of the voice-recognition system was made painfully > obvious... There is RISK of assuming all failures are technologically induced. It could very well be that the stenographer hired was simply not very good. The good ones are expensive, and to do "real-time" stenography takes a good stenographer. There is a plausible explanation involving computer RISKs however. The translation from the steno notation to full english words was in all likelyhood automated. In stenography there are a number of dialects (usually called theories). Some dialects, especially the older ones, are not particularly suitable to machine translation. There are also more than a few translation programs. Between stenographic dialects and computer translators there can be a significant compatibility problem. It could be that the stenographer was extremely capable in the courtroom (where the translations are done off-line by a human), while at the same time using a style/dialect/theory which was incompatible with the machine translator. There has been an interesting interaction between technology and court recording in the last couple of decades. My mother, for instance, is in the process of re-learning her stenography in a computer compatible dialect. It reminds me of pilots who have to learn to fly in a computer compatible way (training around system weaknesses). Benjamin Ellsworth email@example.com All relevant disclaimers apply.
Well, since we're talking about chess, here's a tidbit from Saturday's NY Times, in an article about the Kasparov-Karpov match: Trying to meet a noon deadline yesterday for invoking the time-out, Lajos Portisch, a Hungarian grandmaster who is Mr. Karpov's second, telephoned Geurt Gijssen, a Dutchman who is chief arbiter of the match, at 11:53 A.M. How was the arbiter to be sure it really was Mr. Portisch on the line? The Hungarian, who had considered a singing career early in life — a fact known to some chess experts — suggested singing something in his distinctive voice. Mr. Gijssen agreed, and Mr. Portisch burst forth with several bars of a Hungarian song. The arbiter granted the postponement, although the written request for the time-out arrived late, at 12:07 P.M. Sounds like they need some sort of challenge/response scheme; that password is blown... --Steve Bellovin
firstname.lastname@example.org (Randall Davis) writes: >As for the title of this whole discussion — "Expert systems in the loop": >2) There aren't any and there never were any. > ... ... >So until otherwise informed, let's be clear about this: it was a problem of >"Instruments in the loop". That by itself may be worth discussing, but it is >not and never was an expert system. And it might be interesting to ask, Why >the rush to label it an expert system? The original article was mine, and referred to a report of a new research project in the UK to develop an expert system to advise commanders in tactical situations which are too complex to analyse without assistance. This report *explicitly* referred to an expert system. The point of my original posting was that an expert system which provides advice, in circumstances where a decision must be made and there is insufficient time for the commander to analyse the situation him/herself, is effectively making the decision. Many who followed up agreed with this viewpoint. I apologise for mentioning the USS Vincennes - it distracted attention from the major point, and wasted a lot of net bandwidth. So far as I recall, noone, throughout the discussion, suggested that Aegis is an expert system.
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