I am still blown away at how quickly automated vehicles have advanced. I remember watching the DARPA videos from several years and laughing as all the vehicles crashed into each other.
Whether you like them or not, automated vehicles are coming quickly. As an HF researcher, my biggest concerns are HOW the automation is implemented. Whoever is in charge of designing these systems absolutely must remember to design for the worst-case scenario and that real humans still have to interact with these automated cars, whether it is the driver of the automated car or drivers of surrounding cars that are not automated.
Autonomous Vehicle - From Stanford Online AI Class
It’s not the SF story, but what if all the cars in the world are completely automated? Anyway, watch this video.
Human Factors experts know that automation can help people, but too much automation can cause boredom, confusion, frustration, and ultimately accidents. However, what if your vehicle is completely automated? Well, all cars in the world are automated, the story would be much different, I guess. And fully automated car is actually in a practice phase already.
AI cars that they tested look really intelligent and stable. You will be surprised the fact that the technology is advanced this far.
Cracked.com: 6 Disasters Caused by Poorly Designed User Interfaces
Thank you cracked.com for this humorous description of human factors and usability.
While human factors certainly can become much more complex than this, fixing simple interface issues like these becomes 90% of what you end up doing.
A huge thanks to rio-ux for this fantastic and funny little video on Human Factors: As seen on TV (put together by San Jose State University HFES student chapter)!
Just this week, I have used this video twice to explain what Human Factors is to someone outside the field, and it does a great job of getting the big concepts a cross.
Nothing is impossible…
As I drafted dozens of posts for this blog over several months, the following struck me as the perfect first blog post. Cheers to starting a new blog!:
I happened to be talking to an older gentleman (~70+ years old) who had been a professor of anthropology. He asked what I was studying in school, and like many people, misunderstood me (the whole formerly-engineering-but-now-psychology thing always messes people up). However, the one thing he did understand was the desire to create and innovate technology. He started telling me about a book called The Physics of the Impossible. He started talking about how some scientists are working on things that are typically deemed impossible, like teleporting and force fields. I have no idea how credible this book is or if any of it is true because the technology wasn’t what I took away from the conversation. That conversation brought me to a realization.
I realized that the word “impossible” is now meaningless. My generation (Gen-Y) is the first generation that does not believe in the impossible. If you ask us if we believe teleporting is possible, we shrug and say “I’m sure it is. I’m sure someone is working on that.” In even just the last few months, we have seen world markets collapse and oppressed civilians overthrow their government, and over the years, we have seen the exponential explosion of technology. They promised us flying cars in 2000. Are they possible? Yeah, several people have made them. Gesture interfaces like Minority Report? No problem. Jarvis from Iron Man? Apple’s Siri and other similar systems are treading closer. Recently there was a news article on capturing the speed of light on camera. The stuff of Sci-Fi is no longer sci-fi. Its just, the next thing.
But the question is no longer “what is possible?”, but rather “how is it implemented?” and “should it be possible?”
I am thankful I can say I am in the business of researching exactly how technologies are implemented and what should be possible on a given context.
So here’s to a happy and prosperous future for human factors research,