Authority in Increasingly Complex Human and Machine Collaborative Systems: Application to the Air Traffic Management Evolution


Dr. Guy Boy


This talk will ficus on the concept of authority in the context of increasingly complex collaborative systems. It is based on recent developments in the air traffic management domain where airspace capacity needs are greatly increasing and, in order to maintain satisfactory safety, new technology needs to be designed to help coordinate air and ground activities. Therefore, traditional individual human factors investigations are shifting toward new organizational perspectives where authority, understood in terms of the duality of control and accountability, is a central issue. Consequently, there is a need to discuss and further define authority distribution, sharing, delegation and trading. I will argue that these processes require a better understanding of the various organizational structures going from decentralized hierarchies to centralized heterarchies, taking into account the nature of power that is currently shifting toward economization. Increasing complexity due to increasing capacity as well as time and safety constraints requires special attention on change management and maturity issues. The assessment of appropriate handling of authority, in the sense of “who is in charge and when”, requires metrics for both stability and flexibility. This approach is presented in the context of scaling up human-centered design from one to many interdependent human actors and machine agents.

Guy Boy is Founder and President of the European Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Engineering (EURISCO International). He manages EURISCO since its creation in 1992. EURISCO is a multidisciplinary group of cognitive and social scientists, teachers, engineers and organization specialists. It welcome students from various universities and engineering schools belonging to EURISCO's network of excellence. Engineer and psychologist, Dr. Boy received his Doctorate from the “Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace” (SUPAERO), his Professorship Habilitation (HDR) from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris VI., and his Full Professorship Qualifications in Computer Science and Psychology. He teaches cognitive engineering at SUPAERO, ENAC, Paris V University and IdC.