Automation bias in intelligent time critical decision support systems


Conference Paper

Various levels of automation can be introduced by intelligent decision support systems, from fully automated, where the operator is completely left out of the decision process, to minimal levels of automation, where the automation only makes recommendations and the operator has the final say. For rigid tasks that require no flexibility in decision-making and with a low probability of system failure, higher levels of automation often provide the best solution. However, in time critical environments with many external and changing constraints such as air traffic control and military command and control operations, higher levels of automation are not advisable because of the risks and the complexity of both the system and the inability of the automated decision aid to be perfectly reliable. Human-in-the-loop designs, which employ automation for redundant, manual, and monotonous tasks and allow operators active participation, provide not only safety benefits, but also allow a human operator and a system to respond more flexibly to uncertain and unexpected events. However, there can be measurable costs to human performance when automation is used, such as loss of situational awareness, complacency, skill degradation, and automation bias. This paper will discuss the influence of automation bias in intelligent decision support systems, particularly those in aviation domains. Automation bias occurs in decision-making because humans have a tendency to disregard or not search for contradictory information in light of a computer-generated solution that is accepted as correct and can be exacerbated in time critical domains. Automated decision aids are designed to reduce human error but actually can cause new errors in the operation of a system if not designed with human cognitive limitations in mind.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cummings, ML

Published Date

  • December 1, 2004

Published In

  • Collection of Technical Papers Aiaa 1st Intelligent Systems Technical Conference

Volume / Issue

  • 2 /

Start / End Page

  • 557 - 562

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 156347719X

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781563477195

Citation Source

  • Scopus