Skip to Main Content
As human and computer come to have overlapping decisionmaking abilities, a dynamic or adaptive allocation of responsibilities may be the best mode of human-computer interaction. It is suggested that the computer serve as a backup decisionmaker, accepting responsibility when human workload becomes excessive and relinquishing responsibility when workload becomes acceptable. A queueing theory formulation of multitask decisionmaking is used and a threshold policy for turning the computer on/off is proposed. This policy minimizes event-waiting cost subject to human workload constraints. An experiment was conducted with a balanced design of several subject runs within a computer-aided multitask flight management situation with different task demand levels. It was found that computer aiding enhanced subsystem performance as well as subjective ratings. The queueing model appears to be an adequate representation of the multitask decisionmaking situation, and to be capable of predicting system performance in terms of average waiting time and server occupancy. Server occupancy was further found to correlate highly with the subjective effort ratings.