In an era where systems are soon to be adaptive (learning and decision-
making) within much more open environments, multi-dimensional threats
arise through unseen communications between systems and (active) components.
Physical implementations mask the aggregation of interrelated and interdependent
functions and services. They are complex, complicated, time-dependent,
stateful and, at least in part safety-related. In parallel, through their evolving
implementation, they change their operational context.
One clear example are autonomous systems that require elements to join and
leave the operational domain. The overall system becomes dynamic. Logical
representations reveal ragged boundaries open to a wide range of vulnerabilities
and (cyber) threats. As a result, a supporting ecosystem that has both internal
and external elements is required.
The confidence we have in the safety characteristics of a system is falling, and
uncertainty is rising. Current models of a system and system safety need to be
adapted. Decision models need to be extended to address confidence and uncertainty
to ensure and assure safe behaviours. Decision support is likely to encompass
machine perception to address hazards arising from changes in the physical
world and system context. Further, the next generation of CBTs will be able to
parse, understand and make decisions on responsive actions to take based on the
content of records and independently of humans. The influence of CBTs moves
yet further up the baseline model hierarchy.
Realisation and management of confidence and uncertainty drive distinct
strategies, based on the relative position of the system elements within the Reference
Model. Macro strategies encompass the overall system and its context. Individual
elements (a CBT) and their neighbours use Micro-strategies. Therefore,
different levels of confidence and uncertainty will exist across a system comprising
many instances of identical system elements. Each autonomous Vehicle in a
transport system will calculate uncertainty within its local area, yet uncertainty
will have regional variation based on environmental conditions and road incidents.
This poster introduces a model of systems and the characteristics associated
with them. It identifies where current practices are deficient and discusses issues
associated with ensuring the safety of complex adaptive technologies based on a
data-centric view of the world.