UniSC researchers to explore human–AI teamwork

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 02 November, 2023

UniSC researchers to explore human–AI teamwork

A team of researchers led by the University of the Sunshine Coast’s (UniSC) Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems has been awarded $603,000 in grant funding to develop a new model of teamwork for Human-Autonomy Teams (HATs).

HATs are teams combining human workers with artificial intelligence. The research project will investigate how best to design AI and organise HATs so they can work effectively across multiple industries.

The grant will be provided by the Australian Research Council under its Discovery Project scheme. The project will be led by the Centre’s co-director Professor Paul Salmon, who will lead a team consisting of researchers from UniSC as well as experts from Arizona State University and Rice University in the US.

Salmon said currently AI is often not designed in a way that allows humans to work with it very effectively.

“An autonomous vehicle collision is a good example of where you have very advanced AI, but often it’s not telling its human teammate what it can see and what action needs to be taken, which shows us that team situational awareness and communication are still lacking,” he said.

“There are huge potential benefits. But AI is complex and is often not designed to work in teams or with consideration for how humans are going to interact with it.”

Salmon said the project aims to develop a basic understanding of what teamwork looks like when humans and AI are working together.

“We plan to apply new systems analysis and computational modelling methods to develop, test and validate a new model of teamwork for humans and AI,” he said. “This will clarify the processes and behaviours that support optimal functioning and performance.”

Image caption: The Human Factors team at UniSC: from left, Associate Professor Gemma Read, Professor Paul Salmon and Dr Scott McLean. Source: UniSC.

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