(Still) Striving for Utopia

3-2-3.jpg
3-2-3.jpg

(Still) Striving for Utopia

9.95

Author(s): Malcolm H. Mills
No pages: 4
Year: 2000
Article ID: 3-2-3
Keywords: art of war, command and control, command systems, network centric warfare
Format: Electronic (PDF)

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Abstract: Over the years, users and operators have experienced many shortcomings in the performance of their digital systems. More than 30 years ago, researchers indicated that software designers and computer programmers had to take a major share of the blame for these deficiencies because they aspired to design solutions that were free from human imperfection and the need for human involvement: in other words they were creating systems that had all of the characteristics of classical Utopias. Today, as technology-centred (and not user-centred) design persists as the major engineering paradigm and driving force, the release of ever-increasing quantities of software and data into user organisations indicates the trend towards creating Utopias continues. But achieving an effective balance between human beings and computing so as to achieve more optimal system performance will require the adoption of the socio-technical concept in which design and construction needs to be underpinned with an inter-disciplinary science and engineering base. Since such a 'joined up' base does not exist, user capability (particularly in unpredicted situations) could be much at risk in the future. This paper develops some thoughts and concerns on the pitfalls that can occur in the pursuit of the automation of large-scale man-machine information systems.