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On Technology and the Human Factor


John Lyman, Ph.D.


With the world human population approaching the 6+ billion mark as this century closes, those of us who are still here cannot help but wonder about where man's inherent urge to produce new technology will take us. It hasn't always been to good places. But not all bad, either. As our technical and social knowledge about the management of man-made systems has grown, we have indeed made spectacular progress in the fields of safety, ease of equipment use and extensions of human capabilities. "Human centered engineering" is the current buzz phrase in engineering education. Emphasis on human factors and ergonomics has led to an explosion of human focused activity among professionals in law, medicine and management. New professional societies, extensive trade show activity and articles in popular magazines and newspapers have provided a kickoff into the upcoming 21st century. The situation has come a long way from the "time study" concepts of P. W. Taylor in the 1880's when he discovered that by timing the sub-activities of machinists and masons, a rearrangement of the order of procedures could produce dramatic changes in total work output.

And, so on from here...

© 1996 John Lyman

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