Ii) There Are Positives And Negatives To This

. Positives (improved productivity as well as convenience, speed, efficiency and effectiveness;

"...Every time we offload a job to a tool for a machine, we free ourselves to climb to a higher pursuit, one requiring greater dexterity, deeper intelligence, for a broader perspective. We may lose something with each upward step, but what we gain in the long term, is far greater..."

Nicholas Carr, 2013

As a result of more automation, it is hoped that jobs that are valued by society increase in importance, ie human resources (the importance of being human), creativity, social capital, empathy, etc (Fleur Anderson, 2015a)

. Negatives (its impact on performance can be negative as it alters how we act, how we learn and what we know; automation can both supplant human activity and change it in ways unintended and/or unanticipated; the substitution myth, ie

" ...labour-saving device does not just provide a substitute for some isolated component of a job or other activity. It also has the character of the entire task, including the roles, attitudes and skills of the people taking part..."

Nicholas Carr, 2013

In addition, machines/computers can lull us into complacency and bias that undercut our performance and lead to mistakes.

i) automation complacency occurs when a machine/computer lulls us into a false sense of security, ie confident that the machine will work flawlessly and handle any problem that occurs. We become disengaged and less aware of what is happening around us. Humans are not very good at "watching a monitor"; after 30 minutes our attention wanders!!!!

ii) automation bias occurs when we place too much faith in the accuracy of the information the machine/computer produces. We thus ignore or discount other information sources, including our own experience, eyes and ears. When a computer provides incorrect or insufficient data, we remain oblivious to the error.

Automation can weaken our awareness and attentiveness. It turns us from actors into observers. This can inhibit the development of expertise, ie generational effect. For example, people remember words much better when they actively call them to mind, ie generate them, rather than simply reading them. This has an impact on learning, ie when you are actively engaged in the task, you activate mental processes allowing you to retain more knowledge, ie you learn more and remember more; repeating the task strengthens the neural connections in the brain and to be available simultaneously. An expert can spot patterns, evaluate signals and react to changing circumstances with great speed and precision; this is called instinct. When you automate an activity, you have reduced your ability to translate data/information into knowledge. Thus the use of decision-support systems to analyse information works against your decision-making expertise involving centuries of perception, patterns recognition and conceptual knowledge. Additionally, a person's skills deteriorate when they are not used and this increases the chance of their acting ineptly. Some solutions involve shifting control back to human operators at irregular intervals and/or allowing them to perform challenging tasks - rather than just merely observing; these will promote development and maintenance of expertise. This can be achieved by sacrificing some speed, convenience and productivity.

" As automated technologies become more complex, relying on interdependencies among algorithms, databases, senses and mechanical parts, the potential source of failure multiplies. They also becomes harder to detect. All the parts may work flawlessly, but a small error in system design can still cause a major incident. And even if a perfect system could be designed, we still have to operate in an imperfect world"

Nicholas Carr, 2013

Moving from information to intelligence age with artificial intelligence, there is a challenges - can automation handle soft skills?


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