Automation Bias

  • Behavior
  • Cognitive Bias

Automation Bias is the tendency to depend too much on automated systems and data and ignoring correct (non-automated) decisions. Automated systems are often attributed with a magic level of ability to decrease costs and increase productivity, the siren song for any manager. Although this can be true of much automation, often it is implemented with little factual evidence that it will improve the specific system.

When users are made aware of the reasoning process behind an automated system, they are likely to adjust reliance on the system. ref

Examples of Automation Bias

  • Deferring to auto-correct word and spelling choices over personal knowledge of industry specific terminology.
  • Following GPS/map directions despite real-world evidence it is wrong. Examples
  • Airplane pilots following auto-pilot until they crashed even though visual evidence and physical gauges indicated the danger. The Hazards of Going on Autopilot - Maria Konnikova
  • In medical setttings, clinicians accept the guidance of an automated system and cease searching for confirmatory evidence. ref
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