Tag Archives: socio-technical systems

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The Role of Ethics in Human Factors Practice

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Editor’s Note – we are happy to introduce this guest article from Moin Rahman, Founder of HVHF Sciences. His bio and link to his company’s web site are located at the end of his article.

Is there a Hippocratic Oath – or something similar – for Human Factors Practitioners? At least I have not heard of one that is specific to human factors, although there is a similar oath for engineers. And there have been discussions about having an oath for scientists and engineers in general. Nevertheless, human factors professionals are driven by our morals and professional ethics to design devices and solutions that in the words of Asimov’s First Law of Robotics “[A robot] may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” Good so far. But the ethics of a human-machine system or complex sociotechnical system (STS), particularly at the intersection of humans and safety critical technology may or may not receive the necessary attention it deserves.