Relationships and Etiquette with Technical Systems

Relationships and Etiquette with Technical Systems

Christopher A. Miller (Smart Information Flow Technologies, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch503


This chapter focuses not on technology mediation of human relationships, but rather on human-like relationships with technology itself. The author argues, with supporting reasoning and data from his work and that of others, that humans have a natural tendency to generalize social interaction behaviors and interpretations (that is, domain-specific “etiquette”) learned for human-human interactions to interactions with any complex, semi-autonomous and partially unpredictable agent—including many machines and automation. This tendency can affect human trust, perceived workload, degree of confidence and authority, and so forth—all of which can in turn affect performance, safety, and satisfaction with a machine system. The author urges taking an “etiquette perspective” in design as a means of anticipating this phenomenon and either encouraging or discouraging it as appropriate.

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