Archive for the ‘Human Factors/Ergonomics’ Category
What a 40 min-day longer on Mars do to managing team on Earth?
We didn’t think that we are going to have Mars watches and the logistics of the time
Nagin Cox is a first-generation Martian. As a spacecraft engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cox works on the team that manages the United States’ rovers on Mars.
But working a 9-to-5 on another planet — whose day is 40 minutes longer than Earth’s — has particular, often comical challenges
Nagin Cox. Spacecraft operations engineer
So many of you have probably seen the movie “The Martian.” But for those of you who did not, it’s a movie about an astronaut who is stranded on Mars, and his efforts to stay alive until the Earth can send a rescue mission to bring him back to Earth.
Gladly, they do re-establish communication with the character, astronaut Watney, at some point so that he’s not as alone on Mars until he can be rescued. So while you’re watching the movie, or even if you haven’t, when you think about Mars, you’re probably thinking about how far away it is and how distant.
0:50 And, what might not have occurred to you is, what are the logistics really like of working on another planet — of living on two planets when there are people on the Earth and there are rovers or people on Mars?
So think about when you have friends, families and co-workers in California, on the West Coast or in other parts of the world. When you’re trying to communicate with them, one of the things you probably first think about is: wait, what time is it in California? Will I wake them up? Is it OK to call?
even if you’re interacting with colleagues who are in Europe, you’re immediately thinking about: What does it take to coordinate communication when people are far away?
we don’t have people on Mars right now, but we do have rovers. And actually right now, on Curiosity, it is 6:10 in the morning. So, 6:10 in the morning on Mars. We have four rovers on Mars. The United States has put four rovers on Mars since the mid-1990s, and I have been privileged enough to work on three of them.
I am a spacecraft engineer, a spacecraft operations engineer, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles, California. And these rovers are our robotic emissaries they are our eyes and our ears, and they see the planet for us until we can send people. So we learn how to operate on other planets through these rovers.
before we send people, we send robots. So the reason there’s a time difference on Mars right now, from the time that we’re at is because the Martian day is longer than the Earth day. Our Earth day is 24 hours, because that’s how long it takes the Earth to rotate, how long it takes to go around once. So our day is 24 hours. It takes Mars 24 hours and approximately 40 minutes to rotate once.
that means that the Martian day is 40 minutes longer than the Earth day. So teams of people who are operating the rovers on Mars, like this one, what we are doing is we are living on Earth, but working on Mars. So we have to think as if we are actually on Mars with the rover.
Our job, the job of this team, of which I’m a part of, is to send commands to the rover to tell it what to do the next day. To tell it to drive or drill or tell her whatever she’s supposed to do. So while she’s sleeping — and the rover does sleep at night because she needs to recharge her batteries and she needs to weather the cold Martian night.
And so the rover sleeps. So while she sleeps, we work on her program for the next day. So I work the Martian night shift. (Laughter)
in order to come to work on the Earth at the same time every day on Mars — like, let’s say I need to be at work at 5:00 p.m., this team needs to be at work at 5:00 p.m. Mars time every day, then we have to come to work on the Earth 40 minutes later every day, in order to stay in sync with Mars. That’s like moving a time zone every day.
one day you come in at 8:00, the next day 40 minutes later at 8:40, the next day 40 minutes later at 9:20, the next day at 10:00. So you keep moving 40 minutes every day, until soon you’re coming to work in the middle of the night — the middle of the Earth night. Right? So you can imagine how confusing that is.
Hence, the Mars watch. (Laughter) This weights in this watch have been mechanically adjusted so that it runs more slowly. Right? And we didn’t start out — I got this watch in 2004 when Spirit and Opportunity, the rovers back then. We didn’t start out thinking that we were going to need Mars watches.
Right? We thought, OK, we’ll just have the time on our computers and on the mission control screens, and that would be enough. Yeah, not so much. Because we weren’t just working on Mars time, we were actually living on Mars time. And we got just instantaneously confused about what time it was.
you really needed something on your wrist to tell you: What time is it on the Earth? What time is it on Mars? And it wasn’t just the time on Mars that was confusing; we also needed to be able to talk to each other about it. So a “sol” is a Martian day — again, 24 hours and 40 minutes. So when we’re talking about something that’s happening on the Earth, we will say, today.
for Mars, we say, “tosol.” (Laughter) Yesterday became “yestersol” for Mars. Again, we didn’t start out thinking, “Oh, let’s invent a language.” It was just very confusing.
I remember somebody walked up to me and said, “I would like to do this activity on the vehicle tomorrow, on the rover.” And I said, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, or Mars, tomorrow?” We started this terminology because we needed a way to talk to each other. (Laughter)
Tomorrow became “nextersol” or “solorrow.” Because people have different preferences for the words they use. Some of you might say “soda” and some of you might say “pop.” So we have people who say “nextersol” or “solorrow.” And then something that I noticed after a few years of working on these missions, was that the people who work on the rovers, we say “tosol.”
The people who work on the landed missions that don’t rove around, they say “tosoul.” So I could actually tell what mission you worked on from your Martian accent. (Laughter)
we have the watches and the language, and you’re detecting a theme here, right? So that we don’t get confused. But even the Earth daylight could confuse us. If you think that right now, you’ve come to work and it’s the middle of the Martian night and there’s light streaming in from the windows that’s going to be confusing as well.
you can see from this image of the control room that all of the blinds are down. So that there’s no light to distract us. The blinds went down all over the building about a week before landing, and they didn’t go up until we went off Mars time.
this also works for the house, for at home. I’ve been on Mars time three times, and my husband is like, OK, we’re getting ready for Mars time. And so he’ll put foil all over the windows and dark curtains and shades because it also affects your families.
And so here I was living in kind of this darkened environment, but so was he. And he’d gotten used to it. But then I would get these plaintive emails from him when he was at work. Should I come home? Are you awake? What time is it on Mars? And I decided, OK, so he needs a Mars watch. (Laughter)
But of course, it’s 2016, so there’s an app for that. (Laughter) So now instead of the watches, we can also use our phones. But the impact on families was just across the board; it wasn’t just those of us who were working on the rovers but our families as well.
This is David Oh, one of our flight directors, and he’s at the beach in Los Angeles with his family at 1:00 in the morning. (Laughter) So because we landed in August and his kids didn’t have to go back to school until September, they actually went on to Mars time with him for one month.
They got up 40 minutes later every day. And they were on dad’s work schedule. So they lived on Mars time for a month and had these great adventures, like going bowling in the middle of the night or going to the beach. And one of the things that we all discovered is you can get anywhere in Los Angeles at 3:00 in the morning when there’s no traffic.
we would get off work, and we didn’t want to go home and bother our families, and we were hungry, so instead of going locally to eat something, we’d go, “Wait, there’s this great all-night deli in Long Beach, and we can get there in 10 minutes!” So we would drive down — it was like the 60s, no traffic.
We would drive down there, and the restaurant owners would go, “Who are you people? And why are you at my restaurant at 3:00 in the morning?” So they came to realize that there were these packs of Martians, roaming the LA freeways, in the middle of the night — in the middle of the Earth night. And we did actually start calling ourselves Martians. So those of us who were on Mars time would refer to ourselves as Martians, and everyone else as Earthlings.
And that’s because when you’re moving a time-zone every day, you start to really feel separated from everyone else. You’re literally in your own world. So I have this button on that says, “I survived Mars time. Sol 0-90.” And there’s a picture of it up on the screen.
the reason we got these buttons is because we work on Mars time in order to be as efficient as possible with the rover on Mars, to make the best use of our time. But we don’t stay on Mars time for more than three to four months.
Eventually, we’ll move to a modified Mars time, which is what we’re working now. And that’s because it’s hard on your bodies, it’s hard on your families. In fact, there were sleep researchers who actually were studying us because it was so unusual for humans to try to extend their day. And they had about 30 of us that they would do sleep deprivation experiments on.
I would come in and take the test and I fell asleep in each one. And that was because, again, this eventually becomes hard on your body. Even though it was a blast. It was a huge bonding experience with the other members on the team, but it is difficult to sustain.
these rover missions are our first steps out into the solar system. We are learning how to live on more than one planet. We are changing our perspective to become multi-planetary. So the next time you see a Star Wars movie, and there are people going from the Dagobah system to Tatooine, think about what it really means to have people spread out so far.
What it means in terms of the distances between them, how they will start to feel separate from each other and just the logistics of the time. We have not sent people to Mars yet, but we hope to. And between companies like SpaceX and NASA and all of the international space agencies of the world, we hope to do that in the next few decades.
So soon we will have people on Mars, and we truly will be multi-planetary. And the young boy or the young girl who will be going to Mars could be in this audience or listening today.
I have wanted to work at JPL on these missions since I was 14 years old and I am privileged to be a part of it. And this is a remarkable time in the space program, and we are all in this journey together.
the next time you think you don’t have enough time in your day, just remember, it’s all a matter of your Earthly perspective.
“I hate my époque with all my forces. Man is dying of thirst”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry of Petit-Prince and other books that were made into movies
The last letter from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to General X on July 30, 1944. He disappeared with airplane the next day on July 31, 1944
Lettre d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry au général X : « Je hais mon époque de toutes mes forces. L’homme y meurt de soif. »
Antoine de Saint Exupéry : mythe absolu de l’aviateur et de l’écrivain, auteur du Petit-Prince et de nombreux romans, est mort au combat le 31 juillet 1944.
La veille, il écrit au général X et s’exprime avec une lucidité exceptionnelle sur la condition de l’homme moderne. Testament avant l’heure, cette lettre, déchirante à la lumière de son destin, parle étrangement et profondément de notre temps.
30 juillet 1944
Je viens de faire quelques vols sur P. 38. C’est une belle machine. J’aurais été heureux de disposer de ce cadeau-là pour mes vingt ans.
Je constate avec mélancolie qu’aujourd’hui, à 43 ans, après quelques 6,500 heures de vol sous tous les ciels du monde, je ne puis plus trouver grand plaisir à ce jeu-là. Ce n’est plus qu’un instrument de déplacement – ici de guerre.
Si je me soumets à la vitesse et à l’altitude à mon âge patriarcal pour ce métier, c’est bien plus pour ne rien refuser des emmerdements de ma génération que dans l’espoir de retrouver les satisfactions d’autrefois.
Ceci est peut-être mélancolique, mais peut-être bien ne l’est-ce pas. C’est sans doute quand j’avais vingt ans que je me trompais.
En Octobre 1940, de retour d’Afrique du Nord où le groupe 2 – 33 avait émigré, ma voiture étant remisée exsangue dans quelque garage poussiéreux, j’ai découvert la carriole et le cheval. Par elle l’herbe des chemins. Les moutons et les oliviers.
Ces oliviers avaient un autre rôle que celui de battre la mesure derrière les vitres à 130 kms à l’heure. Ils se montraient dans leur rythme vrai qui est de lentement fabriquer des olives.
Les moutons n’avaient pas pour fin exclusive de faire tomber la moyenne. Ils redevenaient vivants. Ils faisaient de vraies crottes et fabriquaient de la vraie laine. Et l’herbe aussi avait un sens puisqu’ils la broutaient.
Et je me suis senti revivre dans ce seul coin du monde où la poussière soit parfumée (je suis injuste, elle l’est en Grèce aussi comme en Provence). Et il m’a semblé que, toute ma vie, j’avais été un imbécile…
Tout cela pour vous expliquer que cette existence grégaire au coeur d’une base américaine, ces repas expédiés debout en dix minutes, ce va-et-vient entre les monoplaces de 2600 chevaux dans une bâtisse abstraite où nous sommes entassé à trois par chambre, ce terrible désert humain, en un mot, n’a rien qui me caresse le coeur.
Ca aussi, comme les missions sans profit ou espoir de retour de Juin 1940, c’est une maladie à passer. Je suis “malade” pour un temps inconnu. Mais je ne me reconnais pas le droit de ne pas subir cette maladie. Voilà tout.
Aujourd’hui, je suis profondément triste. Je suis triste pour ma génération qui est vide de toute substance humaine. Qui n’ayant connu que les bars, les mathématiques et les Bugatti comme forme de vie spirituelle, se trouve aujourd’hui plongé dans une action strictement grégaire qui n’a plus aucune couleur.
On ne sait pas le remarquer.
Prenez le phénomène militaire d’il y a cent ans. Considérez combien il intégrait d’efforts pour qu’il fut répondu à la vie spirituelle, poétique ou simplement humaine de l’homme.
Aujourd’hui nous sommes plus desséchés que des briques, nous sourions de ces niaiseries. Les costumes, les drapeaux, les chants, la musique, les victoires (il n’est pas de victoire aujourd’hui, il n’est que des phénomènes de digestion lente ou rapide) tout lyrisme sonne ridicule et les hommes refusent d’être réveillés à une vie spirituelle quelconque.
Ils font honnêtement une sorte de travail à la chaîne. Comme dit la jeunesse américaine, “nous acceptons honnêtement ce job ingrat” et la propagande, dans le monde entier, se bat les flancs avec désespoir.
De la tragédie grecque, l’humanité, dans sa décadence, est tombée jusqu’au théâtre de Mr Louis Verneuil (on ne peut guère aller plus loin). Siècle de publicité, du système Bedeau, des régimes totalitaires et des armées sans clairons ni drapeaux, ni messes pour les morts. Je hais mon époque de toutes mes forces. L’homme y meurt de soif.
Ah ! Général, il n’y a qu’un problème, un seul de par le monde.
Rendre aux hommes une signification spirituelle, des inquiétudes spirituelles, faire pleuvoir sur eux quelque chose qui ressemble à un chant grégorien. On ne peut vivre de frigidaires, de politique, de bilans et de mots croisés, voyez-vous !
On ne peut plus vivre sans poésie, couleur ni amour. Rien qu’à entendre un chant villageois du 15 ème siècle, on mesure la pente descendue. Il ne reste rien que la voix du robot de la propagande (pardonnez-moi). Deux milliards d’hommes n’entendent plus que le robot, ne comprennent plus que le robot, se font robots.
Tous les craquements des trente dernières années n’ont que deux sources : les impasses du système économique du XIX ème siècle et le désespoir spirituel.
Pourquoi Mermoz a-t-il suivi son grand dadais de colonel sinon par soif ? Pourquoi la Russie ? Pourquoi l’Espagne ?
Les hommes ont fait l’essai des valeurs cartésiennes : hors des sciences de la nature, cela ne leur a guère réussi.
Il n’y a qu’un problème, un seul : redécouvrir qu’il est une vie de l’esprit plus haute encore que la vie de l’intelligence, la seule qui satisfasse l’homme.
Ca déborde le problème de la vie religieuse qui n’en est qu’une forme (bien que peut-être la vie de l’esprit conduise à l’autre nécessairement). Et la vie de l’esprit commence là où un être est conçu au-dessus des matériaux qui le composent.
L’amour de la maison -cet amour inconnaissable aux Etats-Unis – est déjà de la vie de l’esprit.
Et la fête villageoise, et le culte des morts (je cite cela car il s’est tué depuis mon arrivée ici deux ou trois parachutistes, mais on les a escamotés : ils avaient fini de servir) . Cela c’est de l’époque, non de l’Amérique : l’homme n’a plus de sens.
Il faut absolument parler aux hommes.
A quoi servira de gagner la guerre si nous en avons pour cent ans de crise d’épilepsie révolutionnaire ?
Quand la question allemande sera enfin réglée tous les problèmes véritables commenceront à se poser. Il est peu probable que la spéculation sur les stocks américains suffise au sortir de cette guerre à distraire, comme en 1919, l’humanité de ses soucis véritables.
Faute d’un courant spirituel fort, il poussera, comme champignons, trente-six sectes qui se diviseront les unes les autres.
Le marxisme lui-même, trop vieilli, se décomposera en une multitude de néo-marxismes contradictoires.
On l’a bien observé en Espagne. A moins qu’un César français ne nous installe dans un camp de concentration pour l’éternité.
Ah ! quel étrange soir, ce soir, quel étrange climat. Je vois de ma chambre s’allumer les fenêtres de ces bâtisses sans visages. J’entends les postes de radio divers débiter leur musique de mirliton à ces foules désoeuvrées venues d’au-delà des mers et qui ne connaissent même pas la nostalgie.
On peut confondre cette acceptation résignée avec l’esprit de sacrifice ou la grandeur morale. Ce serait là une belle erreur.
Les liens d’amour qui nouent l’homme d’aujourd’hui aux êtres comme aux choses sont si peu tendus, si peu denses, que l’homme ne sent plus l’absence comme autrefois.
C’est le mot terrible de cette histoire juive : “tu vas donc là-bas ? Comme tu seras loin ” – Loin d’où ? Le “où” qu’ils ont quitté n’était plus guère qu’un vaste faisceau d’habitudes.
Dans cette époque de divorce, on divorce avec la même facilité d’avec les choses. Les frigidaires sont interchangeables. Et la maison aussi si elle n’est qu’un assemblage.
Et la femme. Et la religion. Et le parti. On ne peut même pas être infidèle : à quoi serait-on infidèle ? Loin d’où et infidèle à quoi ? Désert de l’homme.
Qu’ils sont donc sages et paisibles ces hommes en groupe.
Moi je songe aux marins bretons d’autrefois, qui débarquaient, lâchés sur une ville, à ces noeuds complexes d’appétits violents et de nostalgie intolérable qu’ont toujours constitués les mâles un peu trop sévèrement parqués. Il fallait toujours, pour les tenir, des gendarmes forts ou des principes forts ou des fois fortes.
Mais aucun de ceux-là ne manquerait de respect à une gardeuse d’oies. L’homme d’aujourd’hui on le fait tenir tranquille, selon le milieu, avec la belote ou le bridge. Nous sommes étonnamment bien châtrés.
Ainsi sommes-nous enfin libres .
On nous a coupé les bras et les jambes, puis on nous a laissé libres de marcher.
Mais je hais cette époque où l’homme devient, sous un totalitarisme universel, bétail doux, poli et tranquille. On nous fait prendre ça pour un progrès moral !
Ce que je hais dans le marxisme, c’est le totalitarisme à quoi il conduit. L’homme y est défini comme producteur et consommateur, le problème essentiel étant celui de la distribution.
Ce que je hais dans le nazisme, c’est le totalitarisme à quoi il prétend par son essence même. On fait défiler les ouvriers de la Ruhr devant un Van Gogh, un Cézanne et un chromo. Ils votent naturellement pour le chromo. Voilà la vérité du peuple !
On boucle solidement dans un camp de concentration les candidats Cézanne, les candidats Van Gogh, tous les grands non-conformistes, et l’on alimente en chromos un bétail soumis.
Mais où vont les Etats-Unis et où allons-nous, nous aussi, à cette époque de fonctionnariat universel ? L’homme robot, l’homme termite, l’homme oscillant du travail à la chaîne système Bedeau à la belote.
L’homme châtré de tout son pouvoir créateur, et qui ne sait même plus, du fond de son village, créer une danse ni une chanson.
L’homme que l’on alimente en culture de confection, en culture standard comme on alimente les boeufs en foin.
C’est cela l’homme d’aujourd’hui.
Et moi je pense que, il n’y a pas trois cents ans, on pouvait écrire ” La Princesse de Clèves” ou s’enfermer dans un couvent pour la vie à cause d’un amour perdu, tant était brûlant l’amour.
Aujourd’hui bien sûr les gens se suicident, mais la souffrance de ceux-là est de l’ordre d’une rage de dents intolérable. Ce n’a point à faire avec l’amour.
Certes, il est une première étape.
Je ne puis supporter l’idée de verser des générations d’enfants français dans le ventre du moloch allemand. La substance même est menacée, mais, quand elle sera sauvée, alors se posera le problème fondamental qui est celui de notre temps. Qui est celui du sens de l’homme et auquel il n’est point proposé de réponse, et j’ai l’impression de marcher vers les temps les plus noirs du monde.
Ca m’est égal d’être tué en guerre.
De ce que j’ai aimé, que restera-t-il ? Autant que les êtres, je parle des coutumes, des intonations irremplaçables, d’une certaine lumière spirituelle. Du déjeuner dans la ferme provençale sous les oliviers, mais aussi de Haendel.
Les choses. je m’en fous, qui subsisteront. Ce qui vaut, c’est certain arrangement des choses. La civilisation est un bien invisible puisqu’elle porte non sur les choses, mais sur les invisibles liens qui les nouent l’une à l’autre, ainsi et non autrement.
Nous aurons de parfaits instruments de musique, distribués en grande série, mais où sera le musicien ?
Si je suis tué en guerre, je m’en moque bien. Ou si je subis une crise de rage de ces sortes de torpilles volantes qui n’ont plus rien à voir avec le vol et font du pilote parmi ses boutons et ses cadrans une sorte de chef comptable (le vol aussi c’est un certain ordre de liens).
Mais si je rentre vivant de ce “job nécessaire et ingrat”, il ne se posera pour moi qu’un problème : que peut-on, que faut-il dire aux hommes ?
Are we sure we are Not seeing an inverted world? The law of physics will Not change after all
I am told that the newborn needs an entire month to see a re-inverted world and adjust to it. Isn’t that an assumption that we like to believe in that we are looking at the real world?
Has any experiment been done to prove the contrary? That we are actually Not seeing an inverted world?
The law of physics will Not change after all. Gravity is still at work. Same for the other forces, and the cosmos will not change.
Suppose we adjusted to the inverted the world, how much visual mass brain was required for this job?
Suppose another species with the same visual characteristics as us (acuity and color vision and all) but with a lower brain mass, do you think we have to work with proportions of visual mass to total brain mass? I think Not. The visual brain mass would be the same at the expense of other faculties and sensory brains.
For example, if we select chimpanzees with the same visual characteristics as us, and we insert a lens when born that inverts the world, and thus don’t need to re-adjust, how much visual brain mass is saved and diverted to other faculties?
If blind born people have far better hearing and touch acuities, better senses of people movement, and better verbal communication, isn’t that the cause that the saved visual brain mass was allocated to those sensorial faculties?
There are always trade-off for visual capacities. For the same visual brain mass, higher visual acuity would give way to deteriorated peripheral vision, less color perception and contrasts…
Since most products rely on vision in their design, if we need any more development in our brain, we better start designing for the other senses.
This is my theory and hypothesis.
A human company in the age of machines? Repeat por favor
In the face of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we need a new radical humanism, says Tim Leberecht.
For the self-described “business romantic,” this means designing organizations and workplaces that celebrate authenticity instead of efficiency and questions instead of answers.
1- Do the UNNECESSARY
2- Create INTIMACY
3- Be UGLY
4- Remain INCOMPLETE
Half of the human workforce is expected to be replaced by software and robots in the next 20 years. And many corporate leaders welcome that as a chance to increase profits. Machines are more efficient; humans are complicated and difficult to manage.
0:30 I want our organizations to remain human. In fact, I want them to become beautiful. Because as machines take our jobs and do them more efficiently, soon the only work left for us humans will be the kind of work that must be done beautifully rather than efficiently.
To maintain our humanity in the this second Machine Age, we may have no other choice than to create beauty. Beauty is an elusive concept. For the writer Stendhal it was the promise of happiness. For me it’s a goal by Lionel Messi.
bear with me as I am proposing four admittedly very subjective principles that you can use to build a beautiful organization.
First: do the unnecessary.
A few months ago, Hamdi Ulukaya, the CEO and founder of the yogurt company Chobani, made headlines when he decided to grant stock to all of his 2,000 employees. Some called it a PR stunt, others — a genuine act of giving back. But there is something else that was remarkable about it. It came completely out of the blue.
There had been no market or stakeholder pressure, and employees were so surprised that they burst into tears when they heard the news. Actions like Ulukaya’s are beautiful because they catch us off guard. They create something out of nothing because they’re completely unnecessary.
2:03 I once worked at a company that was the result of a merger of a large IT outsourcing firm and a small design firm. We were merging 9,000 software engineers with 1,000 creative types. And to unify these immensely different cultures, we were going to launch a third, new brand. And the new brand color was going to be orange.
And as we were going through the budget for the rollouts, we decided last minute to cut the purchase of 10,000 orange balloons, which we had meant to distribute to all staff worldwide. They just seemed unnecessary and cute in the end.
I didn’t know back then that our decision marked the beginning of the end — that these two organizations would never become one.
And sure enough, the merger eventually failed. Now, was it because there weren’t any orange balloons? No, of course not. But the kill-the-orange-balloons mentality permeated everything else.
You might not always realize it, but when you cut the unnecessary, you cut everything. Leading with beauty means rising above what is merely necessary. So do not kill your orange balloons.
The second principle: create intimacy.
3:21 [Create Intimacy]
Studies show that how we feel about our workplace very much depends on the relationships with our coworkers.
And what are relationships other than a string of micro interactions? There are hundreds of these every day in our organizations that have the potential to distinguish a good life from a beautiful one.
The marriage researcher John Gottman says that the secret of a healthy relationship is not the great gesture or the lofty promise, it’s small moments of attachment. In other words, intimacy.
In our networked organizations, we tout the strength of weak ties but we underestimate the strength of strong ones. We forget the words of the writer Richard Bach who once said, “Intimacy — not connectedness — intimacy is the opposite of loneliness.”
how do we design for organizational intimacy? The humanitarian organization CARE wanted to launch a campaign on gender equality in villages in northern India. But it realized quickly that it had to have this conversation first with its own staff.
So it invited all 36 team members and their partners to one of the Khajuraho Temples, known for their famous erotic sculptures. And there they openly discussed their personal relationships — their own experiences of gender equality with the coworkers and the partners.
It was eye-opening for the participants. Not only did it allow them to relate to the communities they serve, it also broke down invisible barriers and created a lasting bond amongst themselves. Not a single team member quit in the next four years. So this is how you create intimacy. No masks … or lots of masks.
When Danone, the food company, wanted to translate its new company manifesto into product initiatives, it gathered the management team and 100 employees from across different departments, seniority levels and regions for a three-day strategy retreat. And it asked everybody to wear costumes for the entire meeting: wigs, crazy hats, feather boas, huge glasses and so on.
And they left with concrete outcomes and full of enthusiasm. And when I asked the woman who had designed this experience why it worked, she simply said, “Never underestimate the power of a ridiculous wig.”
Because wigs erase hierarchy, and hierarchy kills intimacy — both ways, for the CEO and the intern. Wigs allow us to use the disguise of the false to show something true about ourselves. And that’s not easy in our everyday work lives, because the relationship with our organizations is often like that of a married couple that has grown apart, suffered betrayals and disappointments, and is now desperate to be beautiful for one another once again. And for either of us the first step towards beauty involves a huge risk. The risk to be ugly.
many organizations these days are keen on designing beautiful workplaces that look like anything but work: vacation resorts, coffee shops, playgrounds or college campuses —
Based on the promises of positive psychology, we speak of play and gamification, and one start-up even says that when someone gets fired, they have graduated.
That kind of beautiful language only goes “skin deep, but ugly cuts clean to the bone,” as the writer Dorothy Parker once put it.
To be authentic is to be ugly. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun or must give in to the vulgar or cynical, but it does mean that you speak the actual ugly truth. Like this manufacturer that wanted to transform one of its struggling business units. It identified, named and pinned on large boards all the issues — and there were hundreds of them — that had become obstacles to better performance.
They put them on boards, moved them all into one room, which they called “the ugly room.” The ugly became visible for everyone to see — it was celebrated. And the ugly room served as a mix of mirror exhibition and operating room — a biopsy on the living flesh to cut out all the bureaucracy.
The ugliest part of our body is our brain. Literally and neurologically. Our brain renders ugly what is unfamiliar … modern art, atonal music, jazz, maybe — VR goggles for that matter — strange objects, sounds and people.
But we’ve all been ugly once. We were a weird-looking baby, a new kid on the block, a foreigner. And we will be ugly again when we don’t belong.
The Center for Political Beauty, an activist collective in Berlin, recently staged an extreme artistic intervention. With the permission of relatives, it exhumed the corpses of refugees who had drowned at Europe’s borders, transported them all the way to Berlin, and then reburied them at the heart of the German capital.
The idea was to allow them to reach their desired destination, if only after their death. Such acts of beautification may not be pretty, but they are much needed. Because things tend to get ugly when there’s only one meaning, one truth, only answers and no questions. Beautiful organizations keep asking questions. They remain incomplete, which is the fourth and the last of the principles.
9:08 Recently I was in Paris, and a friend of mine took me to Nuit Debout, which stands for “up all night,” the self-organized protest movement that had formed in response to the proposed labor laws in France.
Every night, hundreds gathered at the Place de la République. Every night they set up a small, temporary village to deliberate their own vision of the French Republic. And at the core of this adhocracy was a general assembly where anybody could speak using a specially designed sign language.
Like Occupy Wall Street and other protest movements, Nuit Debout was born in the face of crisis. It was messy — full of controversies and contradictions. But whether you agreed with the movement’s goals or not, every gathering was a beautiful lesson in raw humanity.
And how fitting that Paris — the city of ideals, the city of beauty — was it’s stage. It reminds us that like great cities, the most beautiful organizations are ideas worth fighting for — even and especially when their outcome is uncertain.
They are movements; they are always imperfect, never fully organized, so they avoid ever becoming banal. They have something but we don’t know what it is. They remain mysterious; we can’t take our eyes off them. We find them beautiful. (Arab Spring in Egypt and Tunisia)
to do the unnecessary, to create intimacy, to be ugly, to remain incomplete — these are not only the qualities of beautiful organizations, these are inherently human characteristics. And these are also the qualities of what we call home.
And as we disrupt, and are disrupted, the least we can do is to ensure that we still feel at home in our organizations, and that we use our organizations to create that feeling for others.
11:01 Beauty can save the world when we embrace these principles and design for them. In the face of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we need a new radical humanism.
We must acquire and promote a new aesthetic and sentimental education. Because if we don’t, we might end up feeling like aliens in organizations and societies that are full of smart machines that have no appreciation whatsoever for the unnecessary, the intimate, the incomplete and definitely not for the ugly.
Can we Not lose control over Artificial Intelligence?
Scared of super-intelligent AI? You should be, says neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris — and not just in some theoretical way.
We’re going to build superhuman machines, says Harris, but we haven’t yet grappled with the problems associated with creating something that may treat us the way we treat ants
I’m going to talk about a failure of intuition that many of us suffer from. It’s really a failure to detect a certain kind of danger.
I’m going to describe a scenario that I think is both terrifying and likely to occur, and that’s not a good combination, as it turns out. And yet rather than be scared, most of you will feel that what I’m talking about is kind of cool.
0:36 I’m going to describe how the gains we make in artificial intelligence could ultimately destroy us. And in fact, I think it’s very difficult to see how they won’t destroy us or inspire us to destroy ourselves.
And yet if you’re anything like me, you’ll find that it’s fun to think about these things. That response is part of the problem. OK?
That response should worry you. And if I were to convince you in this talk that we were likely to suffer a global famine, either because of climate change or some other catastrophe, and that your grandchildren, or their grandchildren, are very likely to live like this, you wouldn’t think, “Interesting. I like this TED Talk.”
Famine isn’t fun. Death by science fiction, on the other hand, is fun, and one of the things that worries me most about the development of AI at this point is that we seem unable to marshal an appropriate emotional response to the dangers that lie ahead.
I am unable to marshal this response, and I’m giving this talk.
The point is, something would have to destroy civilization as we know it. You have to imagine how bad it would have to be to prevent us from making improvements in our technology permanently, generation after generation.
Almost by definition, this is the worst thing that’s ever happened in human history.
the only alternative, and this is what lies behind door number two, is that we continue to improve our intelligent machines year after year after year. At a certain point, we will build machines that are smarter than we are, and once we have machines that are smarter than we are, they will begin to improve themselves.
And we risk what the mathematician IJ Good called an “intelligence explosion,” that the process could get away from us.
this is often caricatured, as I have here, as a fear that armies of malicious robots will attack us. But that isn’t the most likely scenario.
It’s not that our machines will become spontaneously malevolent. The concern is really that we will build machines that are so much more competent than we are that the slightest divergence between their goals and our own could destroy us.
Just think about how we relate to ants. We don’t hate them. We don’t go out of our way to harm them. In fact, sometimes we take pains not to harm them. We step over them on the sidewalk.
But whenever their presence seriously conflicts with one of our goals, let’s say when constructing a building like this one, we annihilate them without a qualm. The concern is that we will one day build machines that, whether they’re conscious or not, could treat us with similar disregard.
I suspect this seems far-fetched to many of you. I bet there are those of you who doubt that superintelligent AI is possible, much less inevitable. But then you must find something wrong with one of the following assumptions. And there are only three of them.
Intelligence is a matter of information processing in physical systems. Actually, this is a little bit more than an assumption. We have already built narrow intelligence into our machines, and many of these machines perform at a level of superhuman intelligence already.
And we know that mere matter can give rise to what is called “general intelligence,” an ability to think flexibly across multiple domains, because our brains have managed it. Right?
I mean, there’s just atoms in here, and as long as we continue to build systems of atoms that display more and more intelligent behavior, we will eventually, unless we are interrupted, we will eventually build general intelligence into our machines.
It’s crucial to realize that the rate of progress doesn’t matter, because any progress is enough to get us into the end zone. We don’t need Moore’s law to continue. We don’t need exponential progress. We just need to keep going.
The second assumption is that we will keep going. We will continue to improve our intelligent machines. And given the value of intelligence — I mean, intelligence is either the source of everything we value or we need it to safeguard everything we value.
It is our most valuable resource. So we want to do this. We have problems that we desperately need to solve. We want to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
We want to understand economic systems. We want to improve our climate science.
So we will do this, if we can. The train is already out of the station, and there’s no brake to pull.
Finally, we don’t stand on a peak of intelligence, or anywhere near it, likely. And this really is the crucial insight. This is what makes our situation so precarious, and this is what makes our intuitions about risk so unreliable.
just consider the smartest person who has ever lived. On almost everyone’s shortlist here is John von Neumann.
I mean, the impression that von Neumann made on the people around him, and this included the greatest mathematicians and physicists of his time, is fairly well-documented. If only half the stories about him are half true, there’s no question he’s one of the smartest people who has ever lived.
So consider the spectrum of intelligence. Here we have John von Neumann. And then we have you and me. And then we have a chicken.
There’s no reason for me to make this talk more depressing than it needs to be.
It seems overwhelmingly likely, however, that the spectrum of intelligence extends much further than we currently conceive, and if we build machines that are more intelligent than we are, they will very likely explore this spectrum in ways that we can’t imagine, and exceed us in ways that we can’t imagine.
And it’s important to recognize that this is true by virtue of speed alone. Right?
So imagine if we just built a superintelligent AI that was no smarter than your average team of researchers at Stanford or MIT.
Well, electronic circuits function about a million times faster than biochemical ones, so this machine should think about a million times faster than the minds that built it.
you set it running for a week, and it will perform 20,000 years of human-level intellectual work, week after week after week. How could we even understand, much less constrain, a mind making this sort of progress?
The other thing that’s worrying, frankly, is that, imagine the best case scenario. So imagine we hit upon a design of superintelligent AI that has no safety concerns. We have the perfect design the first time around.
It’s as though we’ve been handed an oracle that behaves exactly as intended. Well, this machine would be the perfect labor-saving device. It can design the machine that can build the machine that can do any physical work, powered by sunlight, more or less for the cost of raw materials. So we’re talking about the end of human drudgery. We’re also talking about the end of most intellectual work.
what would apes like ourselves do in this circumstance? Well, we’d be free to play Frisbee and give each other massages. Add some LSD and some questionable wardrobe choices, and the whole world could be like Burning Man.
that might sound pretty good, but ask yourself what would happen under our current economic and political order?
It seems likely that we would witness a level of wealth inequality and unemployment that we have never seen before. Absent a willingness to immediately put this new wealth to the service of all humanity, a few trillionaires could grace the covers of our business magazines while the rest of the world would be free to starve.
And what would the Russians or the Chinese do if they heard that some company in Silicon Valley was about to deploy a superintelligent AI? This machine would be capable of waging war, whether terrestrial or cyber, with unprecedented power.
This is a winner-take-all scenario. To be six months ahead of the competition here is to be 500,000 years ahead, at a minimum. So it seems that even mere rumors of this kind of breakthrough could cause our species to go berserk.
one of the most frightening things, in my view, at this moment, are the kinds of things that AI researchers say when they want to be reassuring. And the most common reason we’re told not to worry is time.
This is all a long way off, don’t you know. This is probably 50 or 100 years away. One researcher has said, “Worrying about AI safety is like worrying about overpopulation on Mars.” This is the Silicon Valley version of “don’t worry your pretty little head about it.”
No one seems to notice that referencing the time horizon is a total non sequitur. If intelligence is just a matter of information processing, and we continue to improve our machines, we will produce some form of superintelligence.
And we have no idea how long it will take us to create the conditions to do that safely. Let me say that again. We have no idea how long it will take us to create the conditions to do that safely.
if you haven’t noticed, 50 years is not what it used to be. This is 50 years in months. This is how long we’ve had the iPhone. This is how long “The Simpsons” has been on television. Fifty years is not that much time to meet one of the greatest challenges our species will ever face.
Once again, we seem to be failing to have an appropriate emotional response to what we have every reason to believe is coming.
The computer scientist Stuart Russell has a nice analogy here. He said, imagine that we received a message from an alien civilization, which read: “People of Earth, we will arrive on your planet in 50 years. Get ready.” And now we’re just counting down the months until the mothership lands? We would feel a little more urgency than we do.
Another reason we’re told not to worry is that these machines can’t help but share our values because they will be literally extensions of ourselves.
They’ll be grafted onto our brains, and we’ll essentially become their limbic systems. Now take a moment to consider that the safest and only prudent path forward, recommended, is to implant this technology directly into our brains.
this may in fact be the safest and only prudent path forward, but usually one’s safety concerns about a technology have to be pretty much worked out before you stick it inside your head.
The deeper problem is that building superintelligent AI on its own seems likely to be easier than building superintelligent AI and having the completed neuroscience that allows us to seamlessly integrate our minds with it.
And given that the companies and governments doing this work are likely to perceive themselves as being in a race against all others, given that to win this race is to win the world, provided you don’t destroy it in the next moment, then it seems likely that whatever is easier to do will get done first.
I don’t have a solution to this problem, apart from recommending that more of us think about it. I think we need something like a Manhattan Project on the topic of artificial intelligence.
Not to build it, because I think we’ll inevitably do that, but to understand how to avoid an arms race and to build it in a way that is aligned with our interests. When you’re talking about superintelligent AI that can make changes to itself, it seems that we only have one chance to get the initial conditions right, and even then we will need to absorb the economic and political consequences of getting them right.
13:44 But the moment we admit that information processing is the source of intelligence, that some appropriate computational system is what the basis of intelligence is, and we admit that we will improve these systems continuously, and we admit that the horizon of cognition very likely far exceeds what we currently know, then we have to admit that we are in the process of building some sort of a God. Now would be a good time to make sure it’s a god we can live with.
Guideline: Design for all 5 senses. For max pleasure: like sex
Do you know that about 90% of designs target the eyes and the ears?
And what about the other 3 senses that are the most potent for generating emotional memories and best recollection?
There is this idea that sex gives the best pleasure because it engages the 5 senses.
The assumption is that all senses feel satisfactory reactions with both partner. This assumption is hardly tenable.
If a single one of the senses is contradicted then the entire experience is a failure.
For example, what can remedy for a bad smelling partner? All the perfume cannot cover up for this deficiency. Particularly if you tend to fart inadvertently. Perfumes are expensive items because the rich people used it in abundance and wealthy people used Not to take bathes. What could remedy for bad breath?
What could be your reaction if the skin feels dry and as hard and rough as leather?
The eyes are essentials for first time attraction. Afterwards, seeing is almost irrelevant since the main senses will take over. You can make love wearing many layers of external cloths. Or cover the face. Or wear socks for ugly feet.
You can have sex not listening to music.
In an age of global strife and climate change, I’m here to answer the all important question: Why is sex so damn good? If you’re laughing, you know what I mean.
0:22 Now, before we get to that answer, let me tell you about Chris Hosmer.
Chris is a great friend of mine from my university days, but secretly, I hate him. Here’s why.
Back in university, we had a quick project to design some solar-powered clocks. Here’s my clock. It uses something called the dwarf sunflower, which grows to about 12 inches in height.
Now, as you know, sunflowers track the sun during the course of the day. So in the morning, you see which direction the sunflower is facing, and you mark it on the blank area in the base. At noon, you mark the changed position of the sunflower, and in the evening again, and that’s your clock. Now, I know my clock doesn’t tell you the exact time, but it does give you a general idea using a flower. So, in my completely unbiased, subjective opinion, it’s brilliant.
However, here’s Chris’ clock. It’s five magnifying glasses with a shot glass under each one. In each shot glass is a different scented oil.
In the morning, the sunlight will shine down on the first magnifying glass, focusing a beam of light on the shot glass underneath. This will warm up the scented oil inside, and a particular smell will be emitted. A couple of hours later, the sun will shine on the next magnifying glass, and a different smell will be emitted. So during the course of the day, five different smells are dispersed throughout that environment.
Anyone living in that house can tell the time just by the smell. (Bonus: You may rotate a nasty smelly scent as an Alarm clock and not wake up with total nerve breakdown)
You can see why I hate Chris. I thought my idea was pretty good, but his idea is genius, and at the time, I knew his idea was better than mine, but I just couldn’t explain why. One thing you have to know about me is I hate to lose. This problem’s been bugging me for well over a decade.
Let’s get back to the question of why sex is so good.
Many years after the solar powered clocks project, a young lady I knew suggested maybe sex is so good because of the five senses. And when she said this, I had an epiphany. So I decided to evaluate different experiences I had in my life from the point of view of the five senses.
To do this, I devised something called the five senses graph. Along the y-axis, you have a scale from zero to 10, and along the x-axis, you have, of course, the five senses. Anytime I had a memorable experience in my life, I would record it on this graph like a five senses diary.
2:44 Here’s a quick video to show you how it works.
(Video) Jinsop Lee: Hey, my name’s Jinsop, and today, I’m going to show you what riding motorbikes is like from the point of view of the five senses. Hey!
Bike designer: This is [unclear], custom bike designer.
(Motorcyle revving) [Sound] [Touch] [Sight] [Smell] [Taste]
JL: And that’s how the five senses graph works.
For a period of 3 years, I gathered data, not just me but also some of my friends, and I used to teach in university, so I forced my — I mean, I asked my students to do this as well. So here are some other results.
The first is for instant noodles. Now obviously, taste and smell are quite high, but notice sound is at three. Many people told me a big part of the noodle-eating experience is the slurping noise. (Slurps) Needless to say, I no longer dine with these people.
Next, clubbing. Okay, here what I found interesting was that taste is at four, and many respondents told me it’s because of the taste of drinks, but also, in some cases, kissing is a big part of the clubbing experience. These people I still do hang out with.
And smoking. Here I found touch is at [six], and one of the reasons is that smokers told me the sensation of holding a cigarette and bringing it up to your lips is a big part of the smoking experience, which shows, it’s kind of scary to think how well cigarettes are designed by the manufacturers.
What would the perfect experience look like on the five senses graph? It would, of course, be a horizontal line along the top. Now you can see, not even as intense an experience as riding a motorbike comes close.
In fact, in the years that I gathered data, only one experience came close to being the perfect one. That is, of course, sex. Great sex. Respondents said that great sex hits all of the five senses at an extreme level. Here I’ll quote one of my students who said, “Sex is so good, it’s good even when it’s bad.” So the five senses theory does help explain why sex is so good.
In the middle of all this five senses work, I suddenly remembered the solar-powered clocks project from my youth. And I realized this theory also explains why Chris’ clock is so much better than mine. You see, my clock only focuses on sight, and a little bit of touch. Here’s Chris’ clock. It’s the first clock ever that uses smell to tell the time. In fact, in terms of the five senses, Chris’ clock is a revolution.
6:25 And that’s what this theory taught me about my field.
You see, up till now, us designers, we’ve mainly focused on making things look very pretty, and a little bit of touch, which means we’ve ignored the other three senses. Chris’ clock shows us that even raising just one of those other senses can make for a brilliant product.
So what if we started using the five senses theory in all of our designs? Here’s three quick ideas I came up with.
This is an iron for your clothes, to which I added a spraying mechanism, so you fill up the vial with your favorite scent, and your clothes will smell nicer, but hopefully it should also make the ironing experience more enjoyable. We could call this “the perfumator.”
So I brush my teeth twice a day, and what if we had a toothbrush that tastes like candy, and when the taste of candy ran out, you’d know it’s time to change your toothbrush?
Finally, I have a thing for the keys on a flute or a clarinet.
It’s not just the way they look, but I love the way they feel when you press down on them. Now, I don’t play the flute or the clarinet, so I decided to combine these keys with an instrument I do play: the television remote control. Now, when we look at these three ideas together, you’ll notice that the five senses theory doesn’t only change the way we use these products but also the way they look.
In conclusion, I’ve found the five senses theory to be a very useful tool in evaluating different experiences in my life, and then taking those best experiences and hopefully incorporating them into my designs.
Now, I realize the five senses isn’t the only thing that makes life interesting.
There’s also the six emotions and that elusive x-factor. Maybe that could be the topic of my next talk. Until then, please have fun using the five senses in your own lives and your own designs.
Oh, one last thing before I leave. Here’s the experience you all had while listening to the TED Talks.
However, it would be better if we could boost up a couple of the other senses like smell and taste. And the best way to do that is with free candy.
Design: Got necessarily be evidence-based. Design is basically relevant to a human factors need
Note: Finally, an article that explicitly mentions Human Factors in Design
Dr Dan Jenkins leads the human factors and research team at DCA Design International, working on a range of projects in domains including medical, transport, consumer goods and industrial products.
Lisa Baker is a Chartered Ergonomist of the CIEHF and senior human factors researcher at DCA Design International.
Here, in advance of an interactive workshop they will present at Design Council, they discuss the necessity of designing from a strong evidence base.
Design is rarely a solitary exercise.
Despite perceptions brought about and perpetuated by celebrity designers, most products are developed by teams.
The reason is that many products, like planes, trains or automobiles, are simply too complex to be designed by one person alone. (And the more complex the system the worse in safety)
Even if they had the time, very few individuals have the required breadth and depth of skills, knowledge and attitude required to consider all aspects of the design.
For products of any notable complexity, the idea that a single individual could fully research the product, it’s context of use and commercial market, develop a concept, engineer it, test it, select materials and suppliers, and manage production transfer is simply a fantasy.
When it comes to working in teams, it’s not enough to be confident in one’s own convictions. If the best designs are to be developed, it is imperative that each member of the team is able to explain the rationale for the decisions they make and convince others.
The most beautiful products, like works of art, elicit physiological responses: upon first sight, pupils dilate and heart rate quickens.
The strongest brands can have the same impact.
Users often place greater trust in these objects, they care for them and take time to use them effectively.
But initial responses can also be fickle.
How do we ensure that users not only remain engaged with products but can also use them to enhance system performance? Or simply put, how do we create beautiful things that also work beautifully?
Evidence-based design is a key component in developing better things. It’s a philosophy that’s critical for ensuring the team have a common objective and rationale for decision making when working in large multidisciplinary teams.
And Measurement is a critical part of this.
This kind of approach is something that a select few do intuitively. They create compelling arguments for a vision of the future and they have the authority or the gravitas to set a course that others follow.
For most though, some form of systematic structure usually helps.
Fortunately, the human factors tool kit is jam-packed with methods and techniques ready to be used.
These methods range from ethnography and contextual enquiry to more data driven approaches that are able to quantify aspects of system performance such as efficiency, effectiveness, resilience, intuitiveness, usability and inclusiveness.
These approaches can also form the basis for ideation, providing inspiration and information for product improvements.
Ultimately a concise, well-supported argument for change is critical in ensuring that human factors are considered and communicated to a wide range of stakeholders.
This may include those within the design team as well as end users, regulators, maintenance staff, sales and marketing, as well as those involved with construction and decommissioning.
This way we can ensure that we are designing products and services that go beyond initial aesthetic appeal to enhance wider system performance.
Dan Jenkins and Lisa Baker will be presenting an interactive workshop on these ideas at the Ergonomic Design Awards on 22 September at the Design Council. The workshop will introduce a range of human factors tools and explain how they can be used to build, inform, and present a compelling business case for change that leads to better products and greater system performance.
A second workshop will also be presented which examines how designers can ensure inclusivity into later life, and how we design for physical issues of ageing and cognitive impairments such as dementia, for example.
More to read on Human Factors designs
- On interfaces https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/what-other-interfaces-do-you-design%e2%80%9d/
- Message of HF discipline https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/07/10/what-message-has-the-human-factors-profession-been-sending/
- How HF fits in Engineering curriculum? https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/fitting-human-factors-in-the-engineering-curriculum/
- Taxonomy of methods in HF https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/an-exercise-taxonomy-of-methods/