This article presents a key design principle behind an innovative artefact created for the course MG4C3 “Information Technology and Service Innovation” at the LSE. The author identifies the socio-technical mechanisms of establishing shared control between digital and human agents in cyber-physical systems during the process of system design. To illustrate the responsibilities and capabilities across interface, information and task agents, “Emergency,” an innovative in-vehicle emergency response solution for the upcoming era of fully autonomous vehicles is studied as the example of an intelligent “personal assistant” system. The case of “Emergency” instantiates agents’ activity allocation and control through a series of concepts: 1) a distributed multi-agent system with different types of autonomous interface agents to reach a common goal - responding to passengers’ emergency requests, 2) an organizational informational services theory that distinguishes the roles of information agents and task agents, and 3) a human-in-the-loop model in preparing digital augmentation of the emergency service operations in an interactive system. The design analysis demonstrates that the interplay between human and digital agents will be determined not by machines but by the choices made by individuals, organizations and societies.
Links to the Prototype and Introduction to the Connected Car App “Emergency”: