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Intelligent Human-Machine Collaboration: Summary of a Workshop (2012)

Chapter: 5 Global and Transnational Issues

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Suggested Citation:"5 Global and Transnational Issues." National Research Council. 2012. Intelligent Human-Machine Collaboration: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13479.
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5

Global and Transnational Issues

There are significant real-world problems, Bradshaw proposed, that by their very nature are international in scope and would benefit by participation from researchers from different countries and different disciplines. Sonenberg added that for many large-scale (and potentially international or global) problems, great opportunities exist for collaboration and coordination to meet shared goals. Today, researchers are tapping into the potential to exploit the Web to collect, integrate, and share data in useful ways to support the flow of data from information to knowledge. In addition, new technological capabilities, such as large-scale and massively distributed sensor systems, are allowing researchers to explore new, and potentially global, scales where the “field” has become the “laboratory.”

She also referred to the scenario discussions on cross-cultural issues that addressed differing norms regarding “personal space,” gender roles and preferences, safety and trust in automation, and communication. Addressing these cultural differences, she noted, would benefit from national and local—as well as global–expertise.

From an international manufacturing and assembly collaboration perspective, Don Mottaz described the challenges of translating process information into other languages and cultures. While current efforts focus on teaching humans, he proposed that machines may one day be used to teach humans from a variety of different cultural backgrounds. Thus spoken, written, tactile, and other teaching strategies will help to incorporate cross-cultural human-machine interaction requirements.

Lakmal Seneviratne discussed the increasing global use of automated tools in surgical environments, as well as long-distance teleoperated robotic surgeries. In addition to time zone differences, technological challenges from computer-robot delays (above 1/100 of a second), operating room team dynamics and hierarchies, and social acceptance of robot surgery tools across cultures by both medical practitioners and patients still present significant obstacles.

In addition to robotic surgery applications, Wagner proposed that medical doctors might beam into rural or underserved hospitals and clinics to conduct

Suggested Citation:"5 Global and Transnational Issues." National Research Council. 2012. Intelligent Human-Machine Collaboration: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13479.
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physical exams and deploy further specialization. He would like to see these tasks move beyond “skype-on-wheels.” Oron-Gilad suggested that environmental context is also an important factor in remote presence. For example, remote participants may not realize that they have beamed into a stressful, unpredictable, or dangerous environment, such as a war zone, thus underappreciating or underutilizing the context in which the local staff is operating.

Ramchurn identified energy management as a global issue in which agents and machines will play a role. As nations shift their focus to renewable energy sources, he suggested, intermittent sources and supply/demand constraints may require agents to have some control of devices (e.g., washing machines) to influence energy usage patterns. In these circumstances, humans would actually be adapting their behavior to agents.

For search and rescue missions, Kruijff commented that cultural considerations come into play when local, national, and regional agencies or organizations need to deliver, share, and coordinate information. For this reason, Tadokoro emphasized multiculturally sensitive data-gathering and -sharing strategies.

Lastly, Sonenberg commented that effectively addressing the social and cultural implications of human-machine collaboration will call for social scientists and anthropologists to work together with engineers. Further, many of these kinds of collaborations will be studied more effectively in natural settings than in the lab.

Suggested Citation:"5 Global and Transnational Issues." National Research Council. 2012. Intelligent Human-Machine Collaboration: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13479.
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Page 23
Suggested Citation:"5 Global and Transnational Issues." National Research Council. 2012. Intelligent Human-Machine Collaboration: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13479.
×
Page 24
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On June 12-14, 2012, the Board on Global Science and Technology held an international, multidisciplinary workshop in Washington, D.C., to explore the challenges and advances in intelligent human-machine collaboration (IH-MC), particularly as it applies to unstructured environments. This workshop convened researchers from a range of science and engineering disciplines, including robotics, human-robot and human-machine interaction, software agents and multi-agentsystems, cognitive sciences, and human-machine teamwork. Participants were drawn from research organizations in Australia, China, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The first day of the workshop participants worked to determine how advances in IH-MC over the next two to three years could be applied solving a variety of different real-world scenarios in dynamic unstructured environments, ranging from managing a natural disaster to improving small-lot agile manufacturing. On the second day of the workshop, participants organized into small groups for a deeper exploration of research topics that had arisen, discussion of common challenges, hoped-for breakthroughs, and the national, transnational, and global context in which this research occurs. Day three of the workshop consisted of small groups focusing on longer term research deliverables, as well as identifying challenges and opportunities from different disciplinary and cultural perspectives. In addition, ten participants gave presentations on their research, ranging from human-robot communication, to disaster response robots, to human-in-the-loop control of robot systems.

Intelligent Human-Machine Collaboration: Summary of a Workshop describes in detail the discussions and happenings of the three day workshop.

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