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The Loose Ascription of "Human Error"

Certainly any system that involves humans will find itself having to cope with human error. But explaining the Therac-25 accidents as due to human error suggests there is nothing that could have been done to prevent it, other than telling people to "be more careful" (see affixing blame, above). The fields of Computer Human Interaction and of Human Factors are based on the idea of accommodating the propensities of humans, by adapting both to their strengths and weaknesses. Thus, a finding of "human error" is useful only if it leads to a search for system change that might help to make that human error less likely in the future.