Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘human operators

Process of system/mission analyses? What are the phases?

Written in April 14, 2006

Systems, missions, and products that involve human operators to run, maintain, and keep up-to-date, as societies evolve and change, need to be analyzed at intervals for its consistency with the latest technology advances, people’s expectations, government regulations, and international standards.

To that end, the latest development in the body of knowledge of human physical and cognitive capabilities, along with the latest advancement in the methods applied for analyzing and designing systems have to be revisited, tested, and evaluated for better predictive aptitude of specific human-machine performance criteria.

This article is a refresher tutorial of the necessary sequence of human factors methods offered to analyze each stages in system development.

In general, the basic milestones in system development begin with the exploration concept, demonstration of the concept, validation, full-scale engineering development, testing and debugging for errors and malfunctions, production, and finally operations and support systems for marketing.

Each one of these stages requires the contribution of human factors professionals and experts from the extensive array of methods they dispose of and are trained for, to their vast store of data on human capabilities and limitations, and to their statistical and experimental formation.

Human factors professionals can also contribute to the baseline documentation, instructions, training programs, and operations manuals.

There is a mission for each stage of development concerning the end product of the stage to the next and the sequence follows 7 steps.

The first step is constituted of four analyses requirements; mainly, operational or the projected operations that will confront operators and maintainers, then comparing similar systems in operations and functions, measuring and quantifying the activities involved in the operations, and then identifying the sources of difficulties or critical incidents that may have to be overcome among the interactions of operators and machines.

The second phase is to figure out the flow of functions and the kinds of action/decision or binary choices at each junction of two successive functions. There are no equipments in mind at this phase of analyses.

The third phase is concerned with the types of information necessary to undertake each action identified in the second phase.

The fourth phase is the study of allocating operators to sets of functions and activities and how many operators and skill levels might be needed to fulfill the mission.

The fifth phase is to construct detailed analyses of the required tasks for each activity/function and basically trying to integrate among people, software, and hardware for smooth operations.

The sixth phase might call for an assortment of methods in order to collect detailed data for the network of tasks such as faulty events, mode of failures, the effects or seriousness of the failures, timeline from beginning to ending a task/activity, how the tasks are linked and how often two tasks come to be interacted, simulation techniques whether a computer simulation of virtual real world or prototyping, and eventually conducting controlled experimentations when the previous traditional methods cannot answer specific problems of cause and effects among the variables.

The seventh and final phase in the analysis of a stage of development is to study the sequence of operations and the physical and mental workload of each operator and to finalize the number and capabilities of the crew operating as a team.

The last five phases are time consuming and it is imperative that the first two phases be well planned, analyzed and firm decisions made for the remaining phases in funding, duration of study, and level of details.

In all these phases human factors are well trained to undertake the analyses because they have the knowledge and methods to extract the capabilities and limitations of human operators interacting with the software and hardware so that the design, trade-off studies, and prediction of human performance match the requirements for achieving a mission.

The ultimate output/product of the sequence of analyses becomes inputs to specifications, reviews, and for design guidelines.

A Paradigm Shift for Human Development (Jan. 21, 2006)

So far, the development of mankind was focused on using Man in order to create machines, and lately, thinking machines, and self-autonomous machines.  I have the feeling that, for about a decade ago, we have reached the crest of the curve that permits machines to better our lives.  Life has stopped to improve based on the previous paradigm; even our generation is a stranger to the fast paced automated machine world, of mostly a virtual world.

We need a political paradigm shift that reuses the invented machines to create responsible humankind; a Man who is in total control of machines and thinking machines.  It is not humanly acceptable to allowing fast trains to be navigated automatically without human operators; though they were successfully implemented.  Airplanes could also be navigated autonomously; and I am pretty sure, for a drastic price cut customers would valiantly board them.

All these automated transport systems and machines are designed to save expenses for training responsible operators, and cutting down on the number of paid operators under the false pretense of reducing errors and accidents. We know that most of these inventions were initially financed by the military, as basic research projects, for acquiring supreme power and not for the betterment of humankind. We are no longer better off and the environment is screaming, howling, battering our seashores, burning continents and burying whole cities.

The goal of this paradigm shift in politics is to reintegrate Man in the work cycle, create jobs for responsible people to control, monitor and design machines for the purpose of reinserting man in the life cycle, in the design cycle and in the development cycle. The old concept of effective rate on return of increase in production, with minimal financial cost, is decimating the availability of jobs opportunities and creating two distinct worlds:  a virtual so-called developed Northern Hemisphere and the real Southern Hemisphere still struggling to be in touch with itself, its neighbors, nature and its surroundings.

This paradigm shift in political organization is a natural extension to the fact of the existence of two distinct Worlds: one world trying to recreate the wheel in social and political organization, with complex democratic systems that quickly revert to the old oligarchic system on the whim of National Security, and the other world trying helplessly to ward off imported political systems that it cannot comprehend or is unable to implement.

The Northern Hemisphere has created self administered bureaucratic institutions for political organizations, padded with amoral technocrats.  The “citizens” or constituents don’t comprehend, do not care to understand and barely participate in elections.  The European Union has written a voluminous Constitution that nobody cared to read and even if they cared could not finish reading it on time for the referendum dates; no wonder that it failed in fracas.

All the media coverage, translation in different languages and the frantic support by the European Presidents could not transfer its contents to the constituents who are already wary of these brusque movements that are not taking account of the human limitations and emotional saturation for the quick political pace being forced upon them.

The Southern Hemisphere States had political organizations that its constituents understood, could control, monitor and did fully participate in electing their local and national leaders but have been pressured relentlessly to comply with political systems that they are not ready to assimilate.

This political paradigm shift will be the consequence of a world controlled by the very few and the rest relegated as walking zombies, disgruntled by their monotonous and undervalued jobs, jobs that can be snatched away anytime, anyplace for cheaper work force.  The rest of us who lost any respect for a job well done because deep inside us we are certain that these jobs can easily be replaced by machines no mater how educated we are.  The rest of us who feel too stupid, dumb and worthless throughout a lifetime and yet are asked to be responsible citizens abiding by inhuman law and order dictate.  The rest of us who have no self respect to raise a responsible new generation, just scratching a living and losing touch with life essence of dignity and compassion.

We are in a world controlled by a very few, not on their intrinsic merit but on their cowardice and willingness to selling their soul for the benefit of the capitalists or the power to be.  It is no longer the struggle between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres but the battle of regaining dignity in the human spirit:  a wretched humankind is the source of all discrimination festering at a lighting speed in all communities devoid of control over their destiny.

There can be no bright future for man if control over his life is removed as a viable alternative.  Developing a responsible and compassionate man means providing jobs that are respected, valued, remunerated commensurate to his investment in energy and time for acquiring knowledge and expertise and quality time reserved to him as his due.  Humankind has to stop being viewed as a commodity as anything else in the exploitation process.

There was a time when humankind could claim: “It is always too early to rely completely on our Creator”; now even adolescents believe in fate.  That is the ravage of desperation in human spirit and lack of correct direction.

Note:  The UN has adopted a set of human development indicators for measuring human development in every State, such as basic health, preventive care, education, infantile mortality rates, illiteracy rate… The human indicators are the launching pad for increased awareness of a wide array of basic human rights wanted by people.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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