a system consisting of a human operator or group of operators and a machine, by means of which the operator performs a task involving, for example, the production of material goods, the management of some type of operation, or the processing of information. Human labour in a man-machine system is based on interaction according to received information with both the object of labour or control and the machine through the mediation of control elements.
Interest in man-machine systems arose in the mid-20th century, when systems of various kinds became with increasing frequency the objects of technical planning and design. The effectiveness of these systems, which included those for the control of production, transportation, communications, and space flights, was largely determined by the activity of the human operators. The combination of human abilities and capabilities of a machine or complex of technological devices significantly increases the effectiveness of control. Although there is a joint performance of control functions by the human operator and machine, each of the two components of the system is governed in its work by its own unique rules. The effectiveness of the system as a whole is determined by the extent to which characteristic features of the operator and machine, both limitations and potentials, are identified and taken into account when building the system. These features are most fully identified in the process of coordinating the external, that is, technological, means of action and the internal means of action, that is, means inherent to the operator. Coordination includes the construction of information and conceptual models.
The information model is a representation, organized according to a definite system of rules, of the states of the object of labour or control, the man-machine system itself, the environment, and the procedures for acting upon these states. Physically speaking, information models are built using data...