Cognitive ergonomics in High Reliability Organizations

Human cognitive system is the key point in a wider field where technology, psychology and organization meet. Our strength is at the same time our weakness: we are flexible but fallible, instead of machines, less fallible, but more rigid. Cognitive ergonomics emerges as a feasible perspective to face with these issues. Specifically, we point to High Reliability Systems (HRS), i.e. those activities where the cost of a failure is greater than the lesson learned. Perfect examples of HRS are transportations (aircrafts, ships, trains, etc.) and industrial activities (e.g. power plants). The aim of future research is to build a stronger integration among the several actors in HRS, keeping in mind that the human factor is, and has to be, the core of a multidisciplinary approach. As Alan Turing once said: if a machine is expected to be intelligent, it will not be error-free; if it has to be error-free, it will not be intelligent.