Minkowski Spaces as Models of Human-Machine Communication.


Moray, N.P., & Hancock, P.A. (2009). Minkowski spaces as models of human-machine communication. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomic Science, 10(4), 315-334.

Acquisition and use of information about system state to initiate action is central to the safety and efficiency of human-machine operations. A model of limits is presented on the rate at which past information can affect the perception of a system’s state and thus the rate at which decisions affect the future. The model represents timescales of physical processes, operator interventions and management of decisions and actions. It is founded on Minkowski space-time diagrams showing cones representative of accessible and inaccessible past and future. This approach is generalised to establish widescale application to all human-machine systems. Unlike physics, for which this description was developed, human scale operations are bounded by lower information transmission speeds. Thus, the interactions in a multi-dimensional space are complex and one element of the system may have access to regions inaccessible to others. A computational version of the model may predict features of human-machine interaction.

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