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Modeling Human–System Interaction by Thomas B. Sheridan

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11 CAN COGNITIVE ENGINEERING MODELING CONTRIBUTE TO MODELING LARGE‐SCALE SOCIO‐TECHNICAL SYSTEMS?

BASIC QUESTIONS

In this chapter, we confront some larger questions concerning modeling in cognitive engineering or human–system interaction, and its relation to the “bigger picture”:

  1. Scaling up: Can our micro‐models (of one or at most a few people interacting with their environments) contribute to modeling at a macro‐level of large‐scale societal issues? Can our micro‐models “scale up” or provide insights to needed macro‐models? Can some macro‐models be constituted as the aggregate of micro‐models, over time and across a variety of human–system endeavors, much as thermodynamics or other fields of physical interaction allows for such aggregation?
  2. Which models? Which of our micro‐models are best suited for such tasks? Can the cognitive engineering models simply be retooled to be fitted with different empirical data such as are now used in economics, politics, population, or weather studies? Will only those of our micro‐models that are quantitative be useful, or will some of our qualitative models also have potential for dealing with societal issues? Which societal issues? What are the criteria of usefulness or of optimization?
  3. Broadening human participation and interaction with the models beyond the researchers and policy‐makers: If human–system modeling, either quantitative or qualitative, can be retooled, is this something that should remain as a topic limited to graduate ...

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