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A Practical Introduction to Human-in-the-Loop Cyber-Physical Systems by Fernando Boavida, Jorge Sá Silva, David Nunes

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Chapter 1Introduction

Humans are a remarkable species. For most of our history, we have used our intellectual ability to create and develop many different tools and processes to assist us and ease our lives. Since the days our ancestors discovered how to control fire, around 300,000 years ago, we have achieved an exponential technological progress. From the invention of wheeled vehicles, around 6,000 years ago, to the transistor, invented just 70 years ago, many were the technological advances that have drastically changed the way we experience and perceive our reality.

The last few decades have seen an unprecedented surge of technological advancement, particularly in the area of computer science, resulting in some of the most revolutionary human inventions yet: we have developed personal desktop and portable computers, as well as a global network that interconnects all kinds of computerized devices, aptly called the Internet. Despite the fact that they have been in existence for an extremely short time, these technologies have transformed, and will continue to transform, the way our world and society work, at a very fundamental level and at an incredibly fast pace.

1.1 The Rise of Cyber-Physical Systems

Interestingly, once the Internet was in place, we quickly achieved the power to extend it to our traditional tools and appliances, which then became “interconnected”. One of the first “tools” ever connected to the Internet was the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science ...

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