Blog Post #2 – Cultural Differences & Task Analysis

In undergrad, I was able to take a course on childhood development across cultures. What I learned from the course and the literature we read was how simultaneously cultures could be so vastly different and the same at doing the same things. A large take-away was how, while we tend to think of how we personally perform tasks as the best, this is often not the case. Cultures may differ in how they perform similar actions, as simple as driving or eating, or as complex as how we operate our governments and educational systems. However, they all serve a general purpose to enhance our quality of life.

Grossman et. al. studies explored cognitive differences among eastern and western cultures and the various factors that could lead to these differences, such as genetics and linguistics as well as societal structure. I think it would be interesting to explore task analyses of every day routine, like driving and eating, across cultures. Maybe we could learn ways to enhance the methodologies we have so deeply embedded into our own society into more dynamic and efficient ones.

Blog Post #1 – Human-Machine Systems and Automation

Hello and Welcome to ENP162 website!

Hello! Thank you for visiting my portfolio site for ENP162. My name is Fallon Shaughnessy, and I am a human factors engineering master’s student at Tufts University. The purpose of my blog is to share my thoughts and insights on all things human factors and automation. And I would love to hear from you! Don’t hesitate to leave comments and replies via the space provided at the end of each blog post. My hope is that this page becomes a place for lively discussion!

Human-Machine Systems and Automation

We live in an increasingly technology-driven world, which is clearly highlighted through the evolution of automated systems and how we interact with them. With rapid strides in our advancement of automated technology, I also become increasingly curious about the ethics surrounding these systems. Are they dangerous? Could they do more harm than good? What constitutes harm?

I always think about a childhood favorite book of mine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Poor Mr. Bucket was replaced at the toothpaste factory because of these very machines. Because of his unemployment, Charlie and his family faced financial trouble and a general worsening of well being both physically and psychologically. Daniel Akst for The Wilson Quarterly wrote of these risks and responsibilities we have when implementing automation into industry. When we think of harm, we often think of physical injury or death. We all have heard about how self driving cars can, and have, caused physically harmful accidents. But what other types of harm are we subjecting humans to through automation? And how can we be cognizant of these risks? Who benefits from automated systems and who doesn’t?