Human Factors in the Age of Algorithms. Understanding the Human-in-the-loop Using Agent-Based Modeling


The complex interaction of humans with digitized technology has far reaching consequences, many of which are still completely opaque in the present. Technology like social networks, artificial intelligence and automation impacts life at work, at home, and in the political sphere. When work is supported by decision support systems and self- optimization, human interaction with such systems is reduced to key decision making aspects using increasingly complex interfaces. Both, algorithms and human operators become linchpins in the opaque workings of the complex socio-technical system. Similarly, when looking at human communication flows in social media, algorithms in the background control the flow of information using recommender systems. The users react to this filtered flow of information, starting a feedback - loop between users and algorithm — the filter bubble. Both scenarios share a common feature: complex human-algorithm interaction. Both scenarios lack a deep understanding of how this interaction must be properly designed. We propose the use of agent-based modeling to address the human-in-the-loop as a part of the complex socio-technical system by comparing several methods of modeling and investigating their applicability.

In: International Conference on Social Computing and Social Media, pp. 357–371