Control and automation have a long and successful history. Revolutionary advances in computing, networking, communications, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have created a new opportunity for advancing control and automation to address major societal needs.
The Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) framework has successfully enabled multidisciplinary research involving control systems, communications, networking, sensing and computing to develop new theoretical foundations as well as addressing major technological applications, including transportation, aerospace, health and medicine, robotics, manufacturing, energy, and the environment. The current interest in autonomous vehicles is a great example illustrating the potential for revolutionary advances.
To achieve their goals, cyber-physical systems and humans require critically important interactions. These interactions between cyber-physical systems and humans will occur at various levels: as individuals at home or outside, as private organizations integrating cyber-physical systems into their operations, and in the public and community infrastructure systems. For example, an individual might interact with a robot at home or an autonomous vehicle on the road; a manufacturing firm may integrate robots and intelligent systems to maximize its productivity; and a city or state may leverage smart grid technologies and renewable energy to reach its clean energy goals.
- Human-Machine Symbiosis (e.g., smart prosthetics, augmented human);
- Humans as supervisors/operators of complex engineering systems (e.g. aircraft pilots, car drivers, process plant operators, robotic surgery);
- Humans as control agents in multi-agent systems (e.g. road automation, traffic management, electric grid);
- Humans as elements in controlled systems (e.g., comfort control in homes).
It is easy to see that the ultimate societal outcomes of future cyber-physical systems technologies will depend crucially on deeper understanding of the interactions between cyber-physical systems and humans. This understanding will enable the best design of the overall system and achieve useful outcomes for individuals, organizations, and society.
How will we achieve such deep understanding? We believe that now is an opportune time to bring together knowledge in social and behavioral sciences with control and automation to help answer fundamental questions. Within social and behavioral sciences, we believe that cognitive science, economics, sociology, and anthropology have particular relevance to this integration.
Some of the fundamental questions to be addressed in the area of Cyber-Physical and Human Systems are:
- What are the major cognitive science principles for the design of autonomous or semi-autonomous cyber-physical systems?
- What is the impact of cyber-physical systems, robots, and intelligent systems on the future of work?
- How can the design of cyber-physical infrastructure systems be optimized for desired societal outcomes?
- What are the key factors that enable cyber-physical systems to augment human performance?
- Under what circumstances will cyber-physical systems replace humans, and when (and how) will they collaborate with humans?
- How can we integrate lessons from anthropology into the design of cyber-physical systems for their productive assimilation into communities and society?
- What are the tradeoffs between complexity on one hand and reliability and resilience on the other?