Laws, tradeoffs and theorems
Many of these are documented in Beyond Simon’s Slice: Five Fundamental Trade-Offs that Bound the Performance of Macrocognitive Work Systems by Hoffman and Woods.
- Law of fluency
- Law of stretched systems
- Law of requisite variety
- Laws of the adaptive universe
- Law of coordinative entropy
- Mr. Weasley's Law
- The Law of the Kludge
- First law of cooperative systems
- (Robin) Murphy's Law
- Efficiency-thoroughness tradeoff
- Optimality-brittleness tradeoff
- Theorems of graceful extensibility
Law of fluency
Well-adapted cognitive work occurs with a facility that belies the difficulty of resolving demands and balancing dilemmas
Law of stretched systems
Every system is stretched to operate at its capacity.
Law of requisite variety
The larger the variety of actions available to a control system, the larger the variety of perturbations it is able to compensate.
This is also called the first law of cybernetics or Ashby's law.
Laws of the adaptive universe
- Resources are finite
- Surprise is fundamental
- Change never stops
Law of coordinative entropy
Coordination costs, continuously.
Law of systems as surrogates
Technology reflects the stances, agendas, and goals of those who design and deploy the technology.
Mr. Weasley's Law
Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.
The Law of the Kludge
Work systems always require workarounds, with resultant kludges that attempt to bridge the gap between the original design objectives and current realities or to reconcile conflicting goals among workers.
First law of cooperative systems
It's not cooperation, if either you do it all or I do it all.
Source: David Woods. Not sure where he first wrote this, but it's referenced in Cognitive Systems Engineering: The Future for a Changing World
(Robin) Murphy's Law
Any deployment of robotic systems will fall short of the target level of autonomy, creating or exacerbating a shortfall in mechanisms for coordination with human stakeholders.
Source: This is mentioned in Joint Cognitive Systems: Patterns in Cogntive Systems Engineering, Chapter 10 (Automation Surprises).
People (and organisations) as part of their activities frequently – or always – have to make a trade-off between the resources (primarily time and effort) they spend on preparing to do something and the resources (primarily time and effort) they spend on doing it.
The pursuit of increases in optimality with respect to some criteria guarantees an increase in brittleness with respect to changes or variations that fall outside of those criteria.
Theorems of graceful extensibility
- UAB stands for unit of adaptive behavior
- CfM stands for capacity for manoeuvre
- Adaptive capacity is finite
- Events will produce demands that challenge boundaries on the adaptive capacity of any UAB
- Adaptive capacities are regulated to manage the risk of saturating CfM
- No UAB can have sufficient ability to regulate CfM to manage the risk of saturation alone
- Some UABs monitor and regulate the CfM of other UABs in response to changes in the risk of saturation
- Adaptive capacity is the potential for adjusting patterns of action to handle future situations, events, opportunities and disruptions
- Performance of a UAB as it approaches saturation is different from the performance of that UAB when it operates far from saturation
- All UABs are local
- There are bounds on the perspective any UAB, but these limits are overcome by shifts and contrasts over multiple perspectives.
- Reflective systems risk mis-calbiration