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May 19, 2023

E283 - Surviving Deep Space Missions

This week on the show, we discuss the importance of recreating exact Earth-like conditions for deep space missions to survive, according to scientists. Additionally, we answer community questions about human factors in different countries, switching from senior UX research to human factors, and tips for attending your first in-person conference.

#DeepSpace #EarthConditions #Science #HumanFactors #UXResearch #CommunityQuestions #Tips #Conference #Networking

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Recorded live on May 18th, 2023, and hosted by Nick Roome with Kate Preston and Barry Kirby.

Check out the latest from our sister podcast - 1202 The Human Factors Podcast -on Naturalistic Decision Making - An interview with Rob Hutton:




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[00:00:00] Nick Roome: Yes. Hello everybody. We are back. It's good to be back. This is episode 283. We're recording this episode live on May 18th, 2023. This is Human Factors Cast. I'm your host, Nick Rome. I'm joined today by Mr. Barry Kirby. Hello, how are you? Hey and a new face here. Kate Preston, welcome to the show. Hello.


Thanks for having me. Thanks for being on. Barry, you've invited Kate to be on the show with us today. Super excited to have you here, Kate. We're looking forward to your thoughts and opinions on today's show. We have a great show for you all tonight. First, we're gonna be talking about deep space missions and what it means to survive on these missions.


Is it necessary to recreate exact earthlight conditions or not? And then we'll answer some questions from the community, including human factors in different countries, switching from senior ux researcher to human factors and any tips for first in-person conferences, especially relevant since eh h f was a couple weeks ago.


But first some programming notes for you all. Yes, we are back. We are back. And it is great to be back. I know before we had left, Heidi and I had sat here and told you that if everything were to go well that safe and effective would be out soon. We hit some production hiccups and then I left on a two week vacation.


So I. It's coming out this week, I promise it's coming out this week. If you're listening now, it's likely out already. Hopefully it's going out on Friday. That's our goal. And so listen for it there. It's the first episode. It's a great conversation. I'm really looking forward to you all to hear that.


Also in our feed while we were gone, we dropped a little preview for you all of a round table that Barry and I had with Frank, and that is a new series that we are starting over on Patreon. In fact, if you want to get in on that action, there is a tier where you can basically subscribe and be on your own podcast episode with Barry and myself.


And we'll sit down, talk about whatever topic you want, human factors related or not, doesn't matter. We'll sit there, we'll be engaged. We'll do our homework and we'll sit there and talk with you. And if you wanna fe find out what that's just go and listen to that, that little ten second sample.


If you want to listen to the whole thing buck gets you in the door at Patreon. Other than that Barry, it's been a minute. What's been going on over at 1202?


[00:02:07] Barry Kirby: So at 1202, I've actually got a new episode up, which, which is obviously a shocker at the moment. But no, I've re recently interviewed c e o of c I H F, Ben Peachy.


I keep on saying he is the new c e o. He's not really, he's been in post about eight months, but, for a good couple of years he's still gonna be the new guy. But what's been really interesting is a really good chat around his background, what's his drivers behind the type of jobs that he's done before, and why that led him to being the c e O of the C I H F.


And then also talking about his ambitions and insights about what he thinks he's gonna bring to the institute and where he wants to take it. So that was a really good chat. And even though I've been speaking to Ben quite a lot, I learned a lot of new stuff about it. So that's live now and yeah, I 30 well worth of, listen,


[00:02:48] Nick Roome: I'm excited.


I'm still catching up because being out, I couldn't listen to podcasts all that much anyway, you, we know why you're all here. You're here for the news. So let's get into it.


That's right. This is the part of the show all about human factors news. Barry, what is the story this week?


[00:03:02] Barry Kirby: So the story this week is about deep space. Missions must recreate exact earth-like conditions to survive. Scientists are arguing. So new theory published in frontiers in astronomy and space science states to survive long deep space missions environments must be modeled after that on earth, they claim the theory known as panko Mario.


I think I got that meaning all word limit. All. Yeah. All word limit is backed with an evolutionary context. The study stipulates that the first condition for living in space is gravity. Since all human processes and development are based on earth gravitational pull, the theory takes a holistic approach to the problem of human survivability and requires a self restoring natural ecosystem to backup technology, infrastructure, and society.


Human bodies and natural ecosystems need earth-like conditions to sustain life. The study divide divides into efficiency and society. Environmental and societal networks will need to be created to sustain human life, including generating oxygen to recycling waste. The theory is crooks is that humanities conditions that allow its growth and evolution must be modeled to survive in deep space.


Creating earthlike conditions in space will be a massive task, but this new theory offers a potential roadmap for the future. So Kate, are you ready to take on a mini earth with you wherever you go when you start exploring space?


[00:04:24] Kate Preston: Me starting explore space? I don't know. I thought firstly, of course you would want a mini earth.


Like we all know we need gravity. We all know we need oxygen. And that's what that article, and actually the paper focuses mostly on, but I was more interested in the kind of, the tiny little sentence that you spoke about was like society and that's more kinda human things that we need.


To be human and live. And this is stuff like, do we need a double bed? Do we need plants? I do. I need plants. Do we need a group of people that we can talk to, but several groups of people because you get sick of one group after a little while. And do you need to be able to watch the latest murder documentary, Netflix?


And I think that's the sort of stuff that you need to focus on in these sort of deep space missions because in the end, and you've seen the movies everybody ends up hating each other. And that's often the cause of mission is to fail. And obviously it's a movie, but you do hear about cabin fever and stuff and how do we avoid that level?


That's what I'm interested in. Rather than the kind of, you need gravity and stuff like that. But I did also because it is a father daughter collaboration, which I thought was really fun. And I did think, how could I collab with my dad that I don't think his work on Brownfield. Land would work with human factors.


But anyway, I did ask him what he thought because he likes these sort of things as well. And he said he, he doesn't like the word exact that they used in the article and in the paper that we are humans and we can adapt to certain situations and gave the example of, people take quite a lot of drugs sometimes and we do adapt to that eventually and we can recover from it in the end.


And I think, I just think there's more to it than just gravity and oxygen that people need to start focusing on. But Nick, what


[00:06:08] Nick Roome: do you think? No, I'm right there with you. I think for me it was, yes. But no it was kinda my first initial thought, yes, we do need to recreate gravity and oxygen, and you're right.


But the social aspect, again, like you said, Kate, is where I'm interested in. I don't think we necessarily evolve if if we mold our surroundings to our will. You can argue that's what we're doing right now is that we're making we can bulldoze an entire mountain and put up a city there.


Although we tend to work around the environmental that we have in our own environment, and I feel like. If you were to base your king, you SW based on things that you have accessible to you, and is it necessarily, is it necessary to recreate everything? Exactly? I don't think so. There are some natural things that we as a species need to overcome, and space faring could be one of those things.


I think it is ultimately if we become a spacefaring species and then we're going to need to. Be adaptable to space and deep space flight and living on other gravitational deltas from our home, planet of earth. And so the, I think the more things that we control, the better in this type of situation, but I don't necessarily think that we do everything like here on earth.


And this is getting along with the societal changes. I think it gives us a good chance to start over with some things that are, messed up over here on, on earth, especially with those societal issues. Like, why not those lessons learned over into a new colony? I don't know.


Barry what are you thinking?


[00:07:44] Barry Kirby: So I guess we assuming that the world is as we have it is the right sort of place for us to Absolutely. It's the place where we have to be because we literally are nowhere else. We can get off the rock, but there is plenty of places on the world that is already hostile to us.


If you go try and live on a live, live on one of the poles, it's too cold. If you go and try and be in, in one of the go and live in the desert, then that doesn't work either. But fundamentally, yes, I get it in the short term. I get what they're talking about. If we need to go and survive tomorrow, next week, next month, whatever, then we need to recreate the elements of it.


We've already seen this in space flight already. As soon as you leave the atmosphere and you start to look, get bone degradation, et cetera, et cetera. So there is short term fixes that we need to put in place. But what about the role of evolution? And I think we both ca where all three of us have alluded to this, is the as as we.


Go through life, people will adapt to living on whatever that be the spacecraft, beda for another planet. And we will evolve there. So will we evolve to become less reliant on gravity? I can't have been the only person that immediately thought of when, what, which systems are we talking about when dependent on gravity, we probably all thought of the same one straight away.


So that, but that will presumably change. But then if we do get reliant on living on like I said, with different levels of gravity and things like that, does that mean that once you're gone, you can't come back? How do you, if you go, if you're used to living in low gra gravity environment, is there, could you go back, come back to work at all?


Or are you just gone? Kate you mentioned about like books and films and stuff. There's two here that really, I think almost epitomize the problem because I'm a big fan of The Martian. The book and the film and that sort of, they're really good and they, and that sort of highlights the scientific, they're professional voyager, shall we say.


The second book was Atomus and that is about living on the Moon Adamis really good book and that's all about on how people live it outside of the society and the and not strict protocols.


So people try to do live it, do their own thing, and it basically shows how people will try, will hijack the situation, not work within the processes that we have. So how will live enough world live work with crime? So fundamentally when will space, that was a long way around saying, when will space exploration be robust enough to survive?


All that mankind does are not just trained professionals.


[00:10:01] Kate Preston: Go ahead. I was thinking it's a passenger, I don't know if you've seen it. Yes. But Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence and how that system goes wrong completely. And he wakes up and then he decide, I'm sorry, spoilers.


And then he then decides to wake up someone else and then they end up growing up a whole garden. And that's just a case of where the system went wrong. But no one had any kind of things in place to fix that system. If it did, they couldn't even get into the crew. Yeah.


[00:10:28] Nick Roome: Yeah. There's so many places that we can go with this.


To me the interesting bits of the society and the evolution pieces, because I think we are all going along those lines. So if you want, we can continue those threads unless either of you have a specific area that you wanted to talk about first.


[00:10:45] Barry Kirby: No, I think for me I'm happy to crack on, but Kate, have you got anything that you wanna throw in?


[00:10:50] Kate Preston: Mine, I just think of the paper, I don't know if you guys looked at what they wrote. Of


[00:10:55] Barry Kirby: course we did.


[00:10:57] Kate Preston: Yeah, of course. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I went and looked at the original paper this article was based on, because I was like, is it gonna be nice, a nice read? It wasn't, it was very confusing and it was, the research behind it I found difficult.


I, it almost felt like it came from their own heads. I was expecting simulation and stuff, like we've done simulations and we've seen that people really do need gravity. Based on simulations. But it was literally then bringing together theories and almost Coming up with a new theory. I know that's how these things start, but I know, I


[00:11:32] Nick Roome: dunno.


Let's talk about the methodology, like how could we potentially improve this in the future? Because I think that's a great point, right? The papers that are often more flowery or idea pie in the sky are harder to talk about from a scientific perspective because it's not necessarily proving or disproving anything, their ideas that you're documenting.


And so for, like you said, Kate there's a need to test these assumptions against this hypothesis that we need to recreate an earth-like scenario. And how do you test that without I don't know. Like the testing of this theory would be making Mars like Earth in as many ways as that you can with like a, a square block, as you have the suburbs over here and you have the stores over here, you're just wearing space suits.


Or if you can, make their remake the oxygen on Mars. I forget what that's called. But I think without doing that, you don't have a proper one-to-one. And then if you wanna generalize it, you could think about what it is on earth. Is there a performance difference in the people, the astronauts that go out on this mission to survive?


And maybe that is their true goal is just survival, live in this environment for. Two years, right? Maybe it's a two year study. You throw people out in an environment, what are the deficits that they need? Maybe shorter term to begin with, but then that might be a good way to build a case for, hey, they need a convenience store here, because that's what, and then the convenience store comes and then you say, okay, the convenience store needs a supply.


And then well, where they get the supply from? You need people with jobs. And then, so it just creates its own economy there. And then there are, like I was mentioning earlier, there are things that we do here on Earth that we could optimize when we go out and say this is how it's done on earth. But what if the production of supplies was automated there?


What if we don't need necessarily somebody to work a factory to produce these things? Maybe a supervisor. To make sure that the products that are being built or that are being created are suitable for human consumption. Something, I'm thinking like a farm you have, a farmer that watches automated vehicles dig up the carrots and, whatever it is that they're doing and then sends that off to the store.


What if that's all automated and you just have somebody in the supervisory role and it's one farm that's feeding an entire colony, right? So there are ways in which I think this dramatically changes from just a thought experiment to putting this in a real world scenario. I don't know. What are your all thoughts?


What are some of the things that we could do to perhaps try this out?


[00:14:09] Barry Kirby: I think Kate nailed it earlier with the, simulation, given what we do at the moment and given to some people we could all just be productive of a massive simulation anyway, but that's a different topic for a different day.


But the idea that, We can test out their ideas by just simulating it. There's loads of ability to do this now, but it goes back to, and we've said this, with other papers like this in the past, so what's the point? What we it, it's almost oh, duh, cost.


We need something that re that creates oxygen that we can breathe and we've got gravity that we can do. But actually by trying to recreate Earth in its entirety, are we just missing opportunities like the ones you mentioned in terms of if we recreate like society exactly the way it is now, we'd lose an opportunity to find out different ways that it could function.


We could maybe have if we find out that we can go and sit on other planets and survive, we could maybe have a planet with no money. And we just learn to all get along and do nice things for each other and, all, have daisies in our hair and that sort of thing. I like daisies in my hair.


But the, so we can actually test out or you can almost test out, wood, communism, work, wood different methods of looking after people working different things. And you can say, actually no planet D's. Got it. Yeah. That, that, that's the right balance. We, it's an op. It could be an opportunity to fix society if you think it's gone wrong.


But we also, as a species, we're explorers. We like trying new things. We like trying to go and do new things. So given if we try and recreate everything exactly as we've got it on earth, we could be losing opportunity. When I pushed this out on social media that we were gonna be talking about this, an interesting point came up around music.


And mark friend of the show mentioned the, he just came up and said, just music will be important. So I was like why would it be important, what is it about it that makes you think that important? And it was the, in that cultural bit, it's the bit that could tie people together.


It's the bit that could either, either link plans together or actually separate some of their differences out. He also high highlighted that they could actually just separate the the math mathematician from the from the musician. And musicians would generally get on better with everybody else.


But yeah, no, it was really interesting. So I'm back to the, so what, why, what is the point?


[00:16:24] Nick Roome: Let's throw it to Kate. What is the point, Kate?


[00:16:28] Kate Preston: What's the point? Oh, probably just making sure that, we screw up this earth and we have somewhere else to go. If I'm honest, I feel like that's the point of all these d these missions and all the scary films that we all watch when we were younger about how, oh, we have to, but I, yeah, absolute weird out here.


Like Geo Storm and stuff like that, all these 2012, my favorite film ever. They all showed the world being destroyed and we're not far off that. And we do need to maybe start thinking about this and maybe, I always think you could do simulations in deserts, build a bubble. I don't know, there's a really far fetched, but you could generally build a bubble in the desert and almost make it like a mini earth and see what people need.


And you could have that kind of feedback loop of that we're in here and we do need Netflix. Like we actually as a society have come together and decided we really do need access to Netflix. And then people will know for future that we will need some sort of, not Netflix specifically videos and stuff and, or we need music, we do need this.


And you could have that almost, you'd have to have really good volunteers who are quite happy to live in a small bubble. You do get those people. But all I can think of is the fact that if you started it again somewhere else, you could actually have a healthcare system that actually links together.


That's all I can think of. Is the fact that you have, things that link and actually talk to each other. Oh, that'd be fantastic. But yeah, I think that's, so what is basically like we, we do probably need to start thinking about this. I


[00:17:57] Barry Kirby: think the, you do miss an interesting point there about things linking together.


What happens if we actually started a world where we all speak the same language and so all the language barriers disappear. So you set the universal language, be it, English, or it could be Chinese or, whatever it is. But everybody speaks the same language.


So you immediately break down a lot of the cultural differences and a lot of the lang, a lot of the communication differences, would that make the world a happier place? But I guess just swing it to let's some actual human factors stuff. In terms of thing, I guess the way the, some applic application stuff that is quite interesting right now with, we've talked about climate economics in the past.


One of the things that came up during some of that work is that if we see climate change go the way that it's going if we, if we can't halt the two degrees, et cetera, et cetera, then we are going to have to change the way we live in order just to keep living here. We are gonna have to be able to deal with hotter and colder climates.


We're gonna have to be able to deal with greater rainfall except, which is just the, yeah we can talk about and say, oh yeah, hotter summers great, sunburns, brilliant. But actually it is, we are gonna have to learn to live in a different way, particularly when in where if you're already living one of the more extreme areas.


So if you're living somewhere that is already hot, it's gonna get hotter. If you live next to Kate where it rains all the time in Scotland, it's gonna get wetter. And things like this. So we are gonna have to learn to adapt anyway. So this, I guess putting the positive piece on this is the, looking at that.


So what is, if we take this as the hypothesis that yes, we are gonna have to recreate this type of stuff. There is actually value in doing it now on earth anyway. Because we are gonna have to do it even just to stay here. Nick, what


[00:19:37] Nick Roome: do you think? Yeah, no, I think that's right. I think there's I. The, I wanna circle back to some of Kate's comments about making the perfect healthcare system that links together and your comment about speaking the same language.


There's a lot to be said about starting from scratch, and I think in a lot of ways this is our wishes as a society to bulldoze and start over from scratch because we have learned so many lessons and a lot of them include sort of these solutions that are unifying, right? That is the theme that both of you brought up is this unification of language, unification of a healthcare system, unification of the system by which we govern, right?


That could be The, you can imagine a planet with a worldwide government that is either democratic or communist or socialist or however you want to establish it. Barry, like you were saying, and just the fact that it's a worldwide thing a planet wide thing rather than a a country barriers by country like we have here on earth.


Would we then thrive and survive as a species, not as Americans or any other nation on earth because Americans are the most important, right? I'm being facetious here, but would we as a human race be better off if we could start from scratch and we take these lessons learned?


And I think there's a lot of human factors applications here, because if you think about it, who's gonna be involved in the process early on to make sure that these systems. These processes, these hell, even cities and city planning. There's so many lessons that we have learned from city planning, if you can imagine trying to terraform Mars or something along those lines, colonize Mars.


What if you could just we've mapped out the entire surface. What if you could pick a place on there that's the most habitable, that has the most wide open space, and you just have a clear canvas to build a city on top of? I think that would go a long way for the prosperity of us as a society, because then we can seriously look at it and say, almost Barry, like the story that we talked about earlier this year, which was the wall that is is it called The Wall?


I think it's no, Noom. Noom, yeah. Noms or nem. Nem. Yeah they've created this entire city that's the line, that's what it's called, the line, an entire city that's contained within this like long skyscraper. And I think we can apply some of those same principles to colonizing another planet and designing these spaces to be like, you put the healthcare stuff together, but also you put many of them distributed so that way you get access within a couple minutes no matter where you're living.


Or, a fire station that's, a perfect equal distant away from wherever a fire could break out. These types of things that you can plan for and design for, and include the people who are going to be doing these things in the process. And that's where human factors comes in.


A lot of it would be, How can we how, what are the lessons learned that we've learned from our process here? You talk to us, we synthesize that and say, Hey, it'd be better on this planet if we did it this way. So I think there's a lot of really interesting things from a human factors perspective that we could talk about.


And I think this goes for society as well too. I'm talking about structural changes here, but imagine society do you just source the people who wanna live in a socialist environment and put them there, because that would be their sort of utopia, right? The people who wanna live there are the people who are identifying with wanting to be socialist on that planet, or do you do the opposite and, everyone's out for their own, it's like, how do you pick and choose and does it make sense to do that?


Is that truly human culture? Human culture? Not any country or region, regional culture? I'm talking like, is that human culture to, to divide us in that way or. Do we need to find a way to make everybody happy? I don't know. These are some questions that I'm just throwing out there.


[00:23:44] Barry Kirby: It's when you start reflecting on what does it mean to be human?


And what is human nature? Because this is, whenever we are doing trials or anything like that's what makes our work exciting. Because yes, you can say, yes, it should work like this, but you never know quite what you're gonna throw up. Which is good fun. And so when you look at things like that, what does it mean to be human?


If you grab everyone together, who thinks all the same way? Does it just think it boring? And actually part of the fun, the or at least the zest for life is dealing with adversity and that adversity is of our own making in many ways. But I think there, to highlight some of the other bits around the technologies, Using this as a push for improving production.


Cause again, in the line they are looking at how do they produce on multiple floors, reducing waste keeping heat, within what it's doing. And looking at how they use water and et cetera, et cetera. So this is, it's obviously a really push, really strong push for how do I generate crops and the, to provide the nutrition that you need with the minimal waste of resources.


Learning how to do that here because of the potential of going and having to recreate that somewhere else. Will obviously benefit us anyway, especially as we've, we've talked so much about auto automation and ai, if we are going to have a a world here that actually the amount of work overall is not there.


And that whole meaning of, if you are a productive member of society you're a working person who works five days a week and has your weekends off and the odd, the occasional holiday that is all going to change. That is all radically going to change over the next few years. And actually some of this stuff, if we get people more focused on what they're good at and actually inquisitive and developing stuff that could be better for us a as a society as a whole.


But I think going back to your point, Nick, the what always comes up in society, no matter what, no matter how good everybody is, there's always somebody who either wants do something against the needs of busy, selfish. They want to do something all for themselves or they just deliberately want to mix things up and undercut people because that's the way that is human nature.


So how is that good or is that bad? Or is that just ju It just is.


[00:25:51] Kate Preston: That's what I was thinking is, if you had this kind of universal language or this group of people who are really similar, how long will it take for them to divide? Like it, it might just be that we're all human and we like to be in groups and we can't be in a large group and we can't agree with everybody.


So we do divide and I think it would be an interesting experiment to put everybody in and have them all speak the same language and then see how long it takes for their own languages to come out and, I don't know, that's the thing. It's all very hypothetical and you. I do think there is a case we're starring again, and I would love that, especially within healthcare.


And I will get off my soapbox about that eventually. But I don't know. I feel like we, we'd have to make sure you don't miss out on some of the nice things that we have. So I'm thinking, and I was in the States last year in Arizona and the grid system there of, you drive down a road and it takes forever and you can't walk it.


I prefer here where I can walk in, it's nice and it's country. I think you'd have to make sure you considered that stuff and you'd, that's talking to the user to make sure that they are taking into consideration. You're like, oh, do you want to kinda old building there? Do you want to park here?


Do you want to be within walking distance of a nice cafe? Whereas some other places you don't get that. And I, yeah, I would worry that you would miss out on all those sort of things if you like didn't, I don't know what I'm trying to say. Didn't let it just happen. I don't know.


[00:27:17] Nick Roome: Yep. So you're saying that you're arguing that planning all that stuff ahead of time would not necessarily allow for that?


I guess that, that, that cultural flare, right? Yeah. Because cuz here's the counterargument, right? Is that this line that Barry and I keep bringing up is doing exactly that. They're building out this gigantic skyscraper that's got everything that you might need within walking distance or traveling distance.


You just take an elevator up to X floor and boom, there's a coffee shop for you. Or you can go, down to floor three and there's a school for you. And so it's like everything that you need is right within your vicinity and maybe there's a couple options that you can go to because you're between two different things.


And if you wanna travel, you can hop on the train and go, a little bit further. But their whole goal was to make those things walkable. And I think there's a nice, middle ground where you can say, this space is reserved for. This type of commercial thing, right? Like a coffee shop or a social gathering place or a common working space or whatever it is that you wanna define and you just basically provide these little placeholders that people can come up and put up, shop there and provide their own flair to, but at least that way you're still designing this area, right?


You mentioned Arizona, I'm sorry you went to Arizona. But the thing with Arizona is that, you're right, it is a grid system. And a lot of people really like that system here in the States cuz it's very easy to navigate. You go over X blocks and then you go up X blocks and then you go over X blocks and then you're at your destination.


Now I understand that it's not walkable and, we've actually done another episode on the show about walkability and how it actually, Affects people differently depending on your socioeconomic status. And it's unfair in a lot of ways. But if you design a space to be walkable or, I'm thinking movable sidewalks or like some other public transportation systems, that's another thing that you could really work on another plant is refactor the entire public transportation system and build it in from the get-go.


You have high speed rail that goes across the whole planet. You have buses and trains that go completely every which route you need or might need. And then you have other ways of getting around. And I think all that is you can certainly do those things, but I don't know. I think the cultural aspect of, what it means to be human, and I think that's where this happy medium needs to exist of creating these spaces for.


People to make their own thing of their local community. And yeah. How long would it be before we started seeing those regional dialects in that unified language before we started seeing offshoots of that language into separate languages. And how long would then it be before that unified society then starts to divide again?


And would those divisions be minor, but perceived as larger differences? Like us as humans, our differences are very, like if you were a spacefaring species and you came to the earth and saw the differences that we had, they'd be like, oh, really? That's so petty. Why would you even, so think about that, right?


There's, we all want the best for everybody. And we're all going about it in different ways. Politics aside, there's I think that's truly what everybody wants is the best for everybody. We just have different thoughts and opinions on it, and if you put everybody in the same environment and with a similar belief, that's where I'm coming at here is if you put all socialists on a planet would then the differences become in how you do socialism versus, anything else.


So that's where I'm coming at is how do you build these and does it make sense to do that or does it make sense to mix and what is human? Then,


[00:30:46] Barry Kirby: In the, I guess the point on language is interesting because actually we do it already. You go, you look around the UK and you have different dialects, you have different words that mean different things.


We have a di we have intergenerational differences. I don't have a clue what half time what my kids are saying. And they have to clue me into, let. Define the words, the terminology that they're using to make that to allow me to key into it. Similarly in the states, look at the difference between the UK and us.


We, we apparently speak a common language, but we have very, now very different terms for the same thing just because of, the size of the ocean between us. So I think that will happen, but we would still be coming from a common core. Fundamentally we can make ourselves understood, which is not necessarily the same as having completely different languages.


I think it's interesting, I think that this whole piece is having started off by saying duh, it's obvious. We've, we could have easily gone down that, down the whole physical route around how does bodily function work? How do we make sure that's all there? But clearly all three of us have.


Easily gone, found more interesting. The societal the human behavior, the culture that them whole impact. And I think that is absolutely right because I think when we see society writ large the society is all about almost celebrating differences as much as the things are the same. And therefore, how do we allow for that if you're gonna build a new world?


Because you're right if you have a mapped out city in the uk we've got Milton Keens that's built on a grid system. And it, and last time I, there was, I was bowled over by the amount of concrete and I didn't know where I was. But it's interesting, if you provide. Too much order, too much given their provision.


So if you add your high spiel ready, where is the enthusiasm motivation to do it better? To do it differently, to be stand out. We are doing some home renovation work and we're right, we, part of the criteria that when we are looking at stuff is saying actually somebody else has got that we'll want something similar because that clearly works.


We've seen them do it, but actually somebody else's nobody's done this before, so we wanna do that cause we wanna be different. So how do we allow for that? If we architect society too much? I don't think we can do it.


[00:32:59] Nick Roome: Yeah. Yeah. Let's go around do one more kind of final thoughts here, Kate, your final thoughts on the article, what'd you think?


[00:33:06] Kate Preston: I think there needs to be more done on this kind of people side of it rather than always. Cuz the article does focus on gravity and I get it. I do. It is important. We do need gravity. If we're gonna do anything from honest, I mean we might not, but like to start off, we certainly will. But I do think there needs to be more of a conversation about what people would need in terms of themselves.


I could say it again. I would really need a plant, like I would need a garden. I would need something to do like that. I'd need will to crochet. That level I think is important. Bef, and I know it comes after the gravity and we're very far off all this. Starship is only just tested and that's like the first one that might actually go to Mars.


People I just think that it's important we do focus on that, but yeah, I'll


[00:33:51] Nick Roome: hand over. Yeah. Very final


[00:33:52] Barry Kirby: thoughts. Yeah, I think actually what, where this took me and I didn't expect to go there, is how this actually reflects what we do in terms of human factors. And when we are testing on users if you get a big enough sample of people, you will see all sorts of behaviors and things happening in that group that you necessarily weren't expecting because humans are different because we have variety, even within the same small microcosm of a user testing group.


So yes, I think there are things that, that bring us together, the need for gravity, et cetera, et cetera. But there's also a lot that dividers and we need to possibly celebrate that as w and as well as research It. Nick, what about you? How,




[00:34:28] Nick Roome: would you like to finish? Yeah. For me, there's a couple things that I wanna tick off my list before we I always call this opening up the can of worms before we leave, but I think the, we've talked a lot about planets and terraforming planets and what does it mean to set up a society on a planet.


But deep space could also mean on a space station, what does it mean to have a space station with artificial gravity and oxygen, recycled oxygen, all that stuff. I think the other point that I wanna make, or at least open up is we've been talking a lot about this as changes from today's society.


How would it change from what we are used to? But what about the societies that grow up in these environments? What do they think about it as natives to these environments that maybe are fixed for a lack of a better term, and maybe those are the people who are thinking about things in different ways.


This is the way it's always been to me because it's been this way since I was born, but, how can this system be improved? And I don't know if there's, going to, I think there would always be a drive for human innovation. That's just my inkling. But those are some things that I would like to open up as a can of worms.


And as we transition, I just wanna thank you all of our patrons this week for selecting our topic. And thank you to our friends over at Gizmoto for our news story this week. If you wanna follow along, we do post the links to all our original articles on our weekly roundups in our blog. You can also join us on Discord for more discussion on these stories and much more.


We're gonna take a quick break and then we'll be back to see what's going on in the Human Factors community right after this.


Yes, huge thank you as always. To our patrons, we especially wanna thank our human factors. Cast all access, patrons like Michelle Tripp, patrons like you. Truly keep the show running. And if you do want to I mentioned round table earlier, if you wanna do that, become a human factors cast, v i p, and you host your own round table.


All right, we've been doing these for a couple weeks now, these little dumb commercial reads. And tonight we're gonna be talking about our social media accounts, shorts, bite size content. It's been a minute since we've done that and we're getting back to it because we're back, baby. But here's the dumb commercial.


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Alright, with that was a fun one. I like it when it actually comes back with good stuff. Cause


[00:37:13] Barry Kirby: sometimes I also feel slightly dirty after you've read them.


[00:37:18] Nick Roome: Do you feel, oh, okay. This is the part of the show where we make Barry feel really dirty. All right. Why don't we get into the next part of the show.


That's right. This is, it came from, this is where we search all over the internet to bring new topics the community is talking about. So if you find these answers helpful, useful, or if they make you uncomfortable, just give us a, like wherever you're watching or listening to help other people find this content.


Alright, we have three up tonight. This first one here is from Sure Edamame 91 80 on the Human Factor sub right at human factors in different countries. The question is, hi, I'm considering studying human factors in ergonomics in the uk, but may want to move to the US in the future. Will the knowledge I gain from studying in the UK be transferable to a job in the us?


Thanks. I wonder why I picked this one for this week's show. Barry, what are your thoughts on this?


[00:38:09] Barry Kirby: Yes. Especially if you join the Charter Institute of Economics and Human Factors, the C I H F, then you will be supported to become a chartered member once you've got your qualifications. And we do that by providing membership and a fantastic community engagement.


Everything you learn, c h f aside, everything you learn, almost no matter where you learn learning is transferrable. And whilst you, you might have some terminology nuances. Off the top of my head, hfi in the UK is H HSI in the us the fundamentals all remain the same because we're all human, right?


But the superior education you'll get here in the UK will help you shine through to be even better, should you go to the us You will stand, you'll stand apart, you will be proven to be that sort of better person. Kate, would you agree with that sort of assessment?


[00:38:53] Kate Preston: Yes, I would definitely agree.


So I actually had a conversation with embedded human factors practitioner who comes to our, and this is a kind of getting there our AI in human factors and healthcare social interest group. And I was just wondering, I have a partner who's gonna be a pilot and I just wanted to check, if he gets a job in the US will I be able to get a job?


And she said, yes, all the skills are transferrable. We really like the, people from the uk and she really just said, joining in on the communities groups, Charleston Institute Society is key. Because then you get that kind of community feel and that knowledge and people can put you in contact with other people who may have job opportunities or may have people who know people with job opportunities and.


Experience, I think always reach out to your community. That's where you get the most. Nick, what do you think? As our residents? American


[00:39:46] Nick Roome: Oh yeah. As the American in the room. I'm gonna say the only thing that would give me pause about hiring someone from the UK is some of Barry's previous responses to this type of thing on the show.


So he, he's basically on the show mentioned that UK is not being at the same level as the us. But I do wanna caveat that because I think, Barry, what you're talking about there is the maturity within organizations and in workspaces and not necessarily skill levels of the people. And I'm absolutely right there with you.


I think the skill transfer themselves is fine, but the only thing that would give me pause is I might vet just a little bit harder to see exactly what you did in that organization, because if. It's not as mature in the uk then can I be sure that you'd be able to adapt or have the skillset or really, it wouldn't even come down to do you have the skillset or not.


It's what pieces would we need to just not fix but teach or patch over here, right? That, that we're missing from an organization that was maybe less developed in the, in, in the uk. But you have that here in the states too. So I don't think it's like a huge disadvantage. That'd be the only thing.


Give me pause. You mentioned the Chartered Institute. I'm gonna mention H F E S. I think this is an international community, and so if you join it in another country, you should be able to see job postings. I see a lot of job postings on there based in the us and so that might be a great opportunity to network with somebody get involved with an international organization and make those connections that you can then use to get over here.


All right, with that, let's get into this next one here. This one is switching from senior UX Researcher to human factors. This is by user Dr. Ace on the Human Factors subreddit. I'm a UX researcher thinking about switching to human factors. Anyone else made this move before and have decided have any advice or resources to share?


I have a Master's degree in Behavioral Decision science from 2018. I'm based in London looking to leave my current role in tech due to a lack of integrity around data and work on something more consequential. My concern is that there aren't many open positions for human factors engineers and the salary is less.


Any suggestions for other job titles I should be searching for? Again, why did I ask this one on this show, Barry?


[00:42:07] Barry Kirby: I do, if you're certain for human factors and not getting anything in the uk, then I find that quite interesting. Because there are hundreds of human factors jobs out here at the moment.


I did a quick search just before conference as part of my opening speech and there was over 500 roles available. A varying shape, size and descriptions all around the human factors piece. I think bringing their UX experience into a human factors role will actually broaden their viewpoint to and the impact that they can bring.


I think there will get greater satisfaction that way, but I'm more of a human practice practitioner, so I guess I would say that I wonder just the way that this is written and the way that it is, whether the issue is actually. With UX discipline or with their own specific employment at this moment in time.


Given what they talk about in terms of the way the data is dealt with, I do, our UX friends do have a different lens and a different use of data that I think you would look you do appreciate from a human factors perspective. But I don't think it's inconsequential. I think it's different.


It's something we've talked about quite a lot in the past. So I think there was a lens issue here perhaps but there are stacks of human factor jobs out there as far as I'm aware. Kate, I think you'd probably say similar. Yeah,


[00:43:17] Kate Preston: I would definitely say similar. And if I'm honest, guys I totally thought UX was under the human factors umbrella.


It is until the conference and when they were like, oh, we didn't collaborate with them in time. And I'm like, wait, aren't we just the same? So I really do think it's transferrable. And I have lived in academia my whole career, I haven't left it yet. So that might just be my, not knowledge of the kind of industry, but I do think there are, as Barry said, lots of jobs out there.


And they have a pretty good salary. But again, PhD didn't hear so anything. It's a good salary. And if you wanna look at other job titles, I had a look on odd LinkedIn specifically and there was lots of different job ties. So I saw applied behavioral scientist that is was for Revolute, the card company.


And that I looked at the job description and that was very much kind of a human factors role. Safety engineer, which can be quite technical I find sometimes, but sometimes not. Human factors, specialists as always, and human factors engineer. The list goes on and on in terms of different kind of job role names.


And I do think there's a debate there from trying to make them a bit more universal because it is a bit confusing right now. Cause you go out there and you're like, Is that safety engineer in terms of human factors, or is this a safety engineer in terms of making sure a pipe goes to the right place?


I don't know. So I think there is a debate there about making something more universal. But I don't know what you think, Nick.


[00:44:40] Nick Roome: No, I think you're right. I think the other just as we're talking about job titles, the other one that I seem to see a lot is cognitive scientist. I think that one's also another one that depending on the context and where you're working could be a lot of human factors e work.


Now that one's a little bit more general. It could be truly a cognitive scientist, but I think you're doing a lot of the same work there as trying to figure out what the human's role in everything is. I, for me, this is an interesting question because it usually runs the other way because the UX option is more lucrative in a lot of ways, and you traditionally see people go from human factors into ux.


In fact, that was my pathway. And so I think. From the UX perspective, going to human factors, it's an easy jump, first off, just because you're doing a lot of the same things. You're just applying it to a broader spectrum. It from my perspective, Kate you mentioned it was under the umbrella of human factors.


I think it is. You're just crawling up to the top of that umbrella and now you can apply it to a million different things. Having a different skillset. I think the skillset is there. The motivation seems to be there for this person. Again, picked this because of the UK based approach.


Not quite sure of the state of human factors versus UX over there, but you've given me a little bit of an idea there. Here in the States it's definitely UX is more. Tech based corporation based, where human factors seems to be more government aerospace sector, like different sectors, call it different things.


A lot of the times the work can be very similar. So that's what I got for that one. We got one more tonight. This one is by oat milk shark on the user experience subreddit tips for first in-person conference. As a first-time attendee of an in-person design conference, what are some tips?


Someone with no prior experience attending such events what do you have specifically? How does networking work? Do people bring business cards? Do attendees usually chat information informally and exchange contact information at the end of a conversation? How should I dress? Do I take notes during talks and workshops?


After the talks and workshops? Do, should I just leave and mingle or stick around, talk to the piece of speakers? If I do talk to the speakers, what is the best approach? What should I avoid doing? This is a lot of questions. So we're gonna answer everyone. Barry, go. I


[00:46:59] Barry Kirby: definitely recommend wearing clothes.


That's a really good touch point. Good dress code though. If you don't, then you'd definitely be remembered. If you're allowed in. In terms of all these questions, you're not alone. Certainly if you go to your first conference, it can be as nervous for you as it is for anybody else. But there are other people there who are exactly the same boat, and in fact, people are going to conferences quite a lot, still feel nervous about having such a bunch of people together.


I actually made a big deal about saying it in my opening speech that at ehf 23 this year, that just because you are feeling nervous about talking to somebody doesn't necessarily mean that the person you're talking to is entirely confident. Everybody's really welcoming and that is generally my thing with most conferences.


Most people are going there to network and do and engage Fundamentally do what you feel comfortable with. If you feel comfortable going up to a random group of people and saying, hi, my name is Barry and well put, take your own name. Don't say call Barry, cuz that'd be really weird. But, to go and introduce yourself.


If you're happy doing that, then do that. But if not, go and listen. Go and stand next to a group perhaps that might introdu include in your conversation. But do be you fundamentally business cards useful. The people are, I've noticed post pandemic less people have business cards now, and so people are happy to le pass on LinkedIn information or maybe even have the the tap applications where you just tap phones together and it passes your information across.


There are different ways of engaging with that. So I'll let other, I'll let Kate crack on with some of the other questions if you want, Kate.


[00:48:26] Kate Preston: Yeah, no, that's fine. Networking gives the fear. Still? I have, I'm slightly socially shy if I'm honest, and I have a very small social battery. So I do find drinking does help, but then you end up going a little bit too far and you do karaoke in front of everybody like I did the last conference.


But if you're not an alcoholic like I am, I'm Scottish, so that doesn't help either. I do find that I normally just have to take a really deep breath and I'm like, bye. Just do it. No one cares. Just go and do it. It's a conference. Everybody's here to do it. I also have a habit of adding, I mass add everybody on LinkedIn at the end.


And I did that in my first ergonomic scheme effects conference in 2022 was I mass added everybody. And then what you do is after you've mass added everyone is you put up a picture of the conference and say, I had a great time. And then people remember you and they're like, oh yeah, that person was at the conference.


And then they also remember that you sang drunk karaoke. But in terms of outfits, and I don't really know, but I normally go Black Trousers and Willie Jumper. That seems to my go-to and converse because no one looks at your feet and comfort is key. I also will say that I am a big advocate for volunteering at conferences.


I've done it for two years now and it is fantastic because you really do. Get to be in people's faces, but in a, you're in charge kind of way. And do you people remember you as well? You can. I don't know. I just think that is if you get the opportunity to volunteer at a conference that you wanted to go to, I actually do think it's better for your networking than going there and not knowing anybody because I now know everybody.


I think field it was great this last one cause I was like, oh, I know people. So yeah, I think volunteering, but also remember everybody is literally in the same boat. But I dunno where you think, Nick, if you've


[00:50:15] Nick Roome: got anything else Standard. Yeah, I got six words. Shots. No, I think alcohol can certainly be a good a good way to lower those barriers to approach other people and talk to them.


I will say there are going to be uncomfortable conversations or unnatural, I should not uncomfortable just unnatural interactions because it's not something that you're used to doing. Or at least for me, going up and approaching somebody about a topic. But some of those interactions can be some of the most fruitful you have in your life.


You never know it, it might spawn a collaboration in the future. I think business cards are a good practice. Barry mentioned the, like the tappable thing. So if you wanna buy an NFC and just program it with your information on it so you can just, hold it up to somebody and say, here, tap here.


And. You're there. I think business cards are great because at least for me, at the end of the day I take all those business cards and I add them on LinkedIn and I add a personalized message. I say, Hey, I really enjoyed talking to you today about X. And that way they remember who I am and they have that personalized message.


And then, a couple weeks later you follow up with them about anything that you talked about that you might, have needed answers to that helps put you back in their memory and say, oh yeah, no, I had a great conversation with them. That's also another awkward piece is like reaching out to them digitally, cuz it's different than physically and it's just like this, you gotta get over that hump, it's like this thing that you do a couple weeks later and just get in the practice of it. I think you bring up a great point, Kate of posting about it on, after the fact tag everybody, it was pleasure to meet so and get as much exposure on it as you can. I think. Ultimately when it comes to dress code, I do business casual, but I don't know, like I wore jeans on a button up during our podcast.


I was behind a booth though, so I don't know. But I wore slacks to the formal events. There's that kind of thing. Workshops, yes. Take notes. Before and after all the time, every time you think you might want something later, take a note. Everything that interests you mingle after every single thing that interests you because you never know, like I said, who's gonna collaborate on those types of things?


And then avoid the, what should you avoid doing? Just follow standard human protocol. And you'll be fine. In a lot of cases, there are not very many bad bad actors or just jerky people in this profession at least. And you will certainly know who those people are. If you talk to them and if you have, then, to stay away from 'em.


So that's the good news. Alright, let's get into this last part of the show that needs no introduction. It's just one more thing. It's where we talk about one more thing. Kate, what is your one more thing this week? Okay,


[00:52:45] Kate Preston: sorry I went a bit random here. So I've talked about plants quite a lot.


So I have a garden I have plenty vegetables and I'm hoping that I'll have a good selection of run of beans, maybe some pumpkins for Halloween. And it's just a top tip for everybody cuz I live in Scotland, as I've said a couple of times and it's really damn all the time. Rains all the time. And I get really bad slugs, like they eat everything.


So this is what I do to get rid of them. And this is so random. I'm so sorry. Poor beer in a. Kind of bottom of milk bottle or something and put it in the ground and the slugs go for it. And then there's no slug problem. I don't have a slug problem anymore, so that's my one more thing. And, I would be taking the beer for the slugs to any new planet or Deep space mission.


[00:53:28] Barry Kirby: Terry, what about you? For me, I want to highlight a couple of TV episodes. So I've really recently got into Chicago Med which is obviously random. It's just come over to the UK from obviously from the States. But when you go to quite specifically series eight, episodes nine and 10, They bring in a concept of the new operating theater.


Of the operating theater Two point not, which involves AI robotics and holographic imaging, and all this different type of stuff. Now, given what Kate and I have spoke about in the PAs Kate is the vice co-chair, sorry, of the AI digital Health Group in the C I H F. And this is sort of stuff that we've spoken about in the past.


Sitting there, going, seeing it on tele being implemented and you're just looking at it going, there's been this prompting and there's all this sort of stuff where the AI is telling this surgeon that he's doing it wrong, and you're like going, wow there, there's so many, actually, it's quite cool, but you'd fix so much of this.


I know you, I know it's on a TV show and you shouldn't get too excited about it, and particularly the pinch of salt, but anybody who's interested in human factors in health and particularly the implementation of AI and digital needs to go and watch them, at least them two episodes. I think there's a few more as well, but I'm only on episode 11 I'll report back next


[00:54:41] Nick Roome: week.


It's funny, Barry, because I, before last week, I wouldn't have known what you were talking about, but my parents watched a lot of prime time and so this was actually on, and I watched these very episodes as they were airing, and I wasn't really watching, I was kinda like listening, so I didn't get the full thing.


But it's funny that you bring that up right after I had seen it. For me, I had a couple things that I could talk about. I'll talk about this one. While I was on my vacation my watch, my, my Fitbit, took a turn for the worst. I went swimming and it had a crack in it, so I was probably not smart of me to go swimming with it on, with a crack in it.


And then I went in the hot tub and I think the crack got water in it, and then the heat broke the seal around it, and I was swimming in the other pool again. And then I see the, front of the watch face just f flopping around and it's completely dead. And I bring that up, not for pity, but just to talk about how deeply.


I guess essential that thing is for me, cuz I constantly find myself reaching for my watch and to see what time it is, or even at night, the utility of being able to hit that button and see a little tiny light to navigate shapes on the ground, with a toddler in the house, it's I don't wanna step on anything.


Being able to click that in the middle of the night, we have night lights, but, in some select places or even be able, to do it as I'm getting into bed, it's dark, I just don't wanna like trip on anything. And to be able to set timers too, I just, I miss that functionality and now I'm looking for another watch.


And that's really all I have to say about that. It's just amazing how much something becomes a part of you. Like your phone is an extension of your being. That watch was an ex an extension of my tools and capabilities. Anyway, that's it for today, everyone. If you like some of the discussion around space, I'll encourage you to go listen to episode 2 55, which was, I've had it with these human factors.


Robots on this Human factors space station. Comment, wherever you're listening with what you think of the story this week for more in-depth discussion, you can always join us on our Discord community. Visit our official website, sign up for our newsletter, stay up to date with all the latest human factors news.


If you like what you hear, you wanna support the show, there's a couple things you can do. One, wherever you're at right now, you can leave us a five star review. That really helps out the show. Two, this one helps us grow. You can tell your friends about us round the water cooler. Hey, these people were talking about deep space flight last night.


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As always, links to all of our socials and our website are in the description of this episode. I wanna thank Kate Preston for being on the show today. We're gonna, our listeners go and find you if they wanna talk about plants.


[00:57:16] Kate Preston: Gosh, I have such a rep now for the plants. Twitter's probably Twitter.


Twitter is probably the best place. So it's Kate Preston 96, basically, or if you want LinkedIn, I do look at that as well. And that's just Kate Elizabeth Preston? I think so, yeah. Please feel free to message me about plans, about slugs, about human factors, anything.


[00:57:38] Nick Roome: And Barry, where can our listeners go and find you if they wanna talk about, I don't know, societal issues on Mars?


[00:57:44] Barry Kirby: That's clearly very hot topic at the moment, so come and find me on Twitter at Buzz k or any of the other socials I'm not difficult to find. But if you wanna also come and listen to some in-depth interviews with human factors, professionals and associated people, then find me on 1202 the Human Factors Podcast at 1202


[00:57:58] Nick Roome: As for me, I been your host, Nick Rome. You can find me on Discord and across social media at Nick underscore Rome. Thanks again for tuning in to Human Factors Cast. Until next time, it depends.



Kate PrestonProfile Photo

Kate Preston

Kate Preston is a PhD researcher at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow focusing on human factors and hospital AI technology. She also co-chairs the CIEHF Digital Health & AI Special Interest Group

Barry KirbyProfile Photo

Barry Kirby

Managing Director

A human factors practitioner, based in Wales, UK. MD of K Sharp, Fellow of the CIEHF and a bit of a gadget geek.