Today’s Sociotechnical Problems Require a New Field of Study

The challenges of running the transportation system in Mexico City present more than just an engineering problem. With a population of 22.9 million people, according to the latest count, it ranks as the largest metropolitan area in the Western hemisphere and the seventh largest in the world. It’s the combination of complex engineering factors, combined with equally difficult human considerations, that makes such problems, known as complex sociotechnical systems (CSS), so frustratingly difficult to address. That is why some authorities, such as MIT professor Joseph Sussman, argue that these systems should be the subject of a new field of academic study. Sussman made his case in a lecture just several weeks ago.