17 Aug 2023

The need for humans?

In a world where technology is taking an ever-greater role in our lives, do we still need humans? That’s the question asked by Peter Hancock, Provost Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Central Florida, in an article in the journal Ergonomics that examines the place of people in an increasingly automated environment.

He highlights the move towards a greater use of AI and the decreasing need for human operators, where “the natural progression of that line of evolution is the eventual excision of humans from access to any form of control loop at all”.

And he argues that it’s “a worthwhile exercise to contemplate the rather counter-intuitive proposition of continuing human necessity”. But despite acknowledging that “the age of the human worker is waning”, Professor Hancock does not believe that work – or the motivation to carry it out – will vanish.

He said: “Understanding the changes in discretionary, as compared to obligatory, roles of human users and operators in systems is central to ergonomics practice. Envisioning this path of potential progress, and then witnessing and impacting its actual realisation, permits practitioners to optimise their professional and personal strategies as they deal with this next critical step in the relationship between humans and technology.”

You can read the full article here and have your say on the future role of humans in a more technologically advanced world in our Communities Open Forum.

Related topics