This research studies the effects of automation on human performance in high-risk environments. While advances in automation have partially replaced human agency, humans still play a major role in operating and monitoring systems. The issues focused on include the degradation of the operator's skills, difficulty of understanding automation because of increasing complexity, and "automation complacency." A case study was used as a basis for evaluating the effects of automation in high-risk environments, researching the effects of automation on pilot performance in Israeli commercial airline cockpits. The evaluation concentrated on four areas: the physical and psychological surroundings, crew dynamics, pilot culture and behavior, and key industry drivers. Qualitative and quantitative field research was carried out. This included observations, interviews and surveys. The research identified several findings: 1) Due to automation, the center of operation in the cockpit has shifted, requiring changes in cockpit design. 2) Minor adjustments in physical space could significantly improve human interaction with automation. 3) Advancements in cockpit systems do not keep pace with a person's behavior resulting from interaction with the latest technology. 4) Pilots have transitioned into powerful agents of change in the aviation industry. These findings led to design opportunities and proposals to optimize synergy between pilots and the automated systems by creating a physical and digital environment fit for the highly automated cockpit.