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ERIC Number: EJ847567
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-1071-6084
Automation and Accountability in Decision Support System Interface Design
Cummings, Mary L.
Journal of Technology Studies, v32 n1 p23-31 Win 2006
When the human element is introduced into decision support system design, entirely new layers of social and ethical issues emerge but are not always recognized as such. This paper discusses those ethical and social impact issues specific to decision support systems and highlights areas that interface designers should consider during design with an emphasis on military applications. Because of the inherent complexity of socio-technical systems, decision support systems are particularly vulnerable to certain potential ethical pitfalls that encompass automation and accountability issues. If computer systems diminish a user's sense of moral agency and responsibility, an erosion of accountability could result. In addition, these problems are exacerbated when an interface is perceived as a legitimate authority. I argue that when developing human computer interfaces for decision support systems that have the ability to harm people, the possibility exists that a moral buffer, a form of psychological distancing, is created which allows people to ethically distance themselves from their actions. (Contains 2 figures.)
Epsilon Pi Tau. International Office, Technology Building, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403-0296. Tel: 419-372-2425; Fax: 419-372-9502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A