At the same time, our strategic goal of enhancing the science and practice of HF/E ought to enable us to make significant contributions toward ensuring a human-centered orientation to the massive sociotechnical changes that are predicted. These include the increasing ubiquity of information technology in all aspects of our lives, the potential enhancement in human performance and capabilities through biotechnology (in his IEA 2006 Congress plenary address, Ken Boff was particularly eloquent about this), the reengineering of our infrastructure and transportation systems to meet the eventual disappearance of fossil fuels, and the large-scale disruption in animal (including human) and plant
populations resulting from global warming.
(I can already hear skeptics questioning these predictions. However, given the level of scientific evidence already available, if we combine the likelihood of these events – even if less than 0.5 – with their potential impacts, we would be absolutely remiss in failing to take them seriously.) So, how well placed is HF/E as a profession, and HFES as an organization, to actually have a positive impact on socio technical systems?
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It is critical here to emphasize that it is the members of HFES who
will ultimately have an impact as a result of their individual efforts. The Society’s role as a scientific/professional organization is to facilitate these efforts.