Cybernetics

Cybernetics

Overview
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure
Structure
Structure is a fundamental, tangible or intangible notion referring to the recognition, observation, nature, and permanence of patterns and relationships of entities. This notion may itself be an object, such as a built structure, or an attribute, such as the structure of society...

 of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory
Information theory
Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and...

, control theory
Control theory
Control theory is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and mathematics that deals with the behavior of dynamical systems. The desired output of a system is called the reference...

 and systems theory
Systems theory
Systems theory is the transdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research...

, at least in its first-order form. (Second-order cybernetics
Second-order cybernetics
Second-order cybernetics, also known as the cybernetics of cybernetics, investigates the construction of models of cybernetic systems. It investigates cybernetics with awareness that the investigators are part of the system, and of the importance of self-referentiality, self-organizing, the...

 has crucial methodological and epistemological implications that are fundamental to the field as a whole.) Both in its origins and in its evolution in the second half of the 20th century, cybernetics is equally applicable to physical and social (that is, language-based) systems.


Cybernetics is most applicable when the system being analysed is involved in a closed signal loop; that is, where action by the system causes some change in its environment and that change is fed to the system via information (feedback) that causes the system to adapt to these new conditions: the system's changes affect its behavior.
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Encyclopedia
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure
Structure
Structure is a fundamental, tangible or intangible notion referring to the recognition, observation, nature, and permanence of patterns and relationships of entities. This notion may itself be an object, such as a built structure, or an attribute, such as the structure of society...

 of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory
Information theory
Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and...

, control theory
Control theory
Control theory is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and mathematics that deals with the behavior of dynamical systems. The desired output of a system is called the reference...

 and systems theory
Systems theory
Systems theory is the transdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research...

, at least in its first-order form. (Second-order cybernetics
Second-order cybernetics
Second-order cybernetics, also known as the cybernetics of cybernetics, investigates the construction of models of cybernetic systems. It investigates cybernetics with awareness that the investigators are part of the system, and of the importance of self-referentiality, self-organizing, the...

 has crucial methodological and epistemological implications that are fundamental to the field as a whole.) Both in its origins and in its evolution in the second half of the 20th century, cybernetics is equally applicable to physical and social (that is, language-based) systems.

Overview


Cybernetics is most applicable when the system being analysed is involved in a closed signal loop; that is, where action by the system causes some change in its environment and that change is fed to the system via information (feedback) that causes the system to adapt to these new conditions: the system's changes affect its behavior. This "circular causal" relationship is necessary and sufficient for a cybernetic perspective. System Dynamics
System dynamics
System dynamics is an approach to understanding the behaviour of complex systems over time. It deals with internal feedback loops and time delays that affect the behaviour of the entire system. What makes using system dynamics different from other approaches to studying complex systems is the use...

, a related field, originated with applications of electrical engineering control theory to other kinds of simulation models (especially business systems) by Jay Forrester at MIT in the 1950s.

Contemporary cybernetics began as an interdisciplinary study connecting the fields of control systems, electrical network theory, mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

, logic modeling, evolutionary biology, neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

, anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, and psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 in the 1940s, often attributed to the Macy Conferences
Macy conferences
The Macy Conferences were a set of meetings of scholars from various disciplines held in New York by the initiative of Warren McCulloch and the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation from 1946 to 1953...

.

Other fields of study which have influenced or been influenced by cybernetics include game theory
Game theory
Game theory is a mathematical method for analyzing calculated circumstances, such as in games, where a person’s success is based upon the choices of others...

, system theory (a mathematical counterpart to cybernetics), perceptual control theory
Perceptual control theory
Perceptual control theory is a model of the psychological and behavioral processes occurring within living beings, including humans. It demonstrates that animals are goal-driven, purposeful entities rather than automata repeating conditioned responses to external stimuli or computers planning...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, psychology (especially neuropsychology
Neuropsychology
Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain related to specific psychological processes and behaviors. The term neuropsychology has been applied to lesion studies in humans and animals. It has also been applied to efforts to record electrical activity from individual cells in...

, behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes.It is the study of how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems.Cognitive psychology differs from previous psychological approaches in two key ways....

), philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, and architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 and organizational theory.

Definition



The term cybernetics stems from the Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 κυβερνήτης (kybernētēs, steersman, governor, pilot, or rudder — the same root as government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

). Cybernetics is a broad field of study, but the essential goal of cybernetics is to understand and define the functions and processes of systems that have goals and that participate in circular, causal chains
Causality
Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event , where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first....

 that move from action to sensing to comparison with desired goal, and again to action. Studies in cybernetics provide a means for examining the design and function of any system, including social systems such as business management and organizational learning, including for the purpose of making them more efficient
Efficient
Efficient may refer to:* Efficiency, the extent to which time or effort is well used for the intended task or purpose* Efficient , a Thoroughbred racehorse...

 and effective.

Cybernetics was defined by Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener was an American mathematician.A famous child prodigy, Wiener later became an early researcher in stochastic and noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems.Wiener is regarded as the originator of cybernetics, a...

, in his book of the same title, as the study of control and communication in the animal and the machine. Stafford Beer called it the science of effective organization and Gordon Pask
Gordon Pask
Andrew Gordon Speedie Pask was an English cybernetician and psychologist who made significant contributions to cybernetics, instructional psychology, experimental epistemology and educational technology....

 extended it to include information flows "in all media" from stars to brains. It includes the study of feedback
Feedback
Feedback describes the situation when output from an event or phenomenon in the past will influence an occurrence or occurrences of the same Feedback describes the situation when output from (or information about the result of) an event or phenomenon in the past will influence an occurrence or...

, black box
Black box
A black box is a device, object, or system whose inner workings are unknown; only the input, transfer, and output are known characteristics.The term black box can also refer to:-In science and technology:*Black box theory, a philosophical theory...

es and derived concepts such as communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

 and control
Control theory
Control theory is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and mathematics that deals with the behavior of dynamical systems. The desired output of a system is called the reference...

 in living organisms
Life
Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased , or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate...

, machine
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

s and organization
Organization
An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

s including self-organization
Self-organization
Self-organization is the process where a structure or pattern appears in a system without a central authority or external element imposing it through planning...

. Its focus is how anything (digital, mechanical or biological) processes information, reacts to information, and changes or can be changed to better accomplish the first two tasks.
A more philosophical definition, suggested in 1956 by Louis Couffignal
Louis Couffignal
Louis Couffignal was a French Mathematician and Cybernetics pioneer. He taught in schools in the southwest of Brittany, then at the naval academy and, eventually, at the Buffon School.- Biography :...

, one of the pioneers of cybernetics, characterizes cybernetics as "the art of ensuring the efficacy of action." The most recent definition has been proposed by Louis Kauffman
Louis Kauffman
Louis H. Kauffman is an American mathematician, topologist, and professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer science at the University of Illinois at Chicago...

, President of the American Society for Cybernetics
American Society for Cybernetics
The American Society for Cybernetics is an American non-profit scholastic organization for organization for the advancement of cybernetics as a science and the interdisciplinary collaboration and synthesis of cybernetics. The society contributes to the cooperation around the research and...

, "Cybernetics is the study of systems and processes that interact with themselves and produce themselves from themselves."

Concepts studied by cyberneticists (or, as some prefer, cyberneticians) include, but are not limited to: learning
Learning
Learning is acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves.Human learning...

, cognition
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

, adaption, social control
Social control
Social control refers generally to societal and political mechanisms or processes that regulate individual and group behavior, leading to conformity and compliance to the rules of a given society, state, or social group. Many mechanisms of social control are cross-cultural, if only in the control...

, emergence
Emergence
In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems....

, communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

, efficiency
Efficient energy use
Efficient energy use, sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal of efforts to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. For example, insulating a home allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature...

, efficacy
Efficacy
Efficacy is the capacity to produce an effect. It has different specific meanings in different fields. In medicine, it is the ability of an intervention or drug to reproduce a desired effect in expert hands and under ideal circumstances.- Healthcare :...

 and interconnectivity
Interconnectivity
Interconnectivity is a concept that is used in numerous fields such as cybernetics, biology, ecology, network theory, and non-linear dynamics. The concept can be summarized as that all parts of a system interact with and rely on one another simply by the fact that they occupy the same system, and...

. These concepts are studied by other subjects such as engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 and biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, but in cybernetics these are removed from the context of the individual organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

 or device
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

.

Other fields of study which have influenced or been influenced by cybernetics include game theory; system theory (a mathematical counterpart to cybernetics); psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, especially neuropsychology
Neuropsychology
Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain related to specific psychological processes and behaviors. The term neuropsychology has been applied to lesion studies in humans and animals. It has also been applied to efforts to record electrical activity from individual cells in...

, behavioral psychology and cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes.It is the study of how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems.Cognitive psychology differs from previous psychological approaches in two key ways....

; philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

; anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

; and even theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, telematic art
Telematic art
Telematic art is a descriptive of art projects using computer mediated telecommunications networks as their medium. Telematic art challenges the traditional relationship between active viewing subjects and passive art objects by creating interactive, behavioural contexts for remote aesthetic...

, and architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

.

The roots of cybernetic theory


The word cybernetics was first used in the context of "the study of self-governance" by Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 in The Laws to signify the governance
Governance
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

 of people. The word 'cybernétique' was also used in 1834 by the physicist André-Marie Ampère
André-Marie Ampère
André-Marie Ampère was a French physicist and mathematician who is generally regarded as one of the main discoverers of electromagnetism. The SI unit of measurement of electric current, the ampere, is named after him....

 (1775–1836) to denote the sciences of government in his classification system of human knowledge.

The first artificial automatic regulatory system, a water clock
Water clock
A water clock or clepsydra is any timepiece in which time is measured by the regulated flow of liquid into or out from a vessel where the amount is then measured.Water clocks, along with sundials, are likely to be the oldest time-measuring instruments, with the only exceptions...

, was invented by the mechanician Ktesibios. In his water clocks, water flowed from a source such as a holding tank into a reservoir, then from the reservoir to the mechanisms of the clock. Ktesibios's device used a cone-shaped float to monitor the level of the water in its reservoir and adjust the rate of flow of the water accordingly to maintain a constant level of water in the reservoir, so that it neither overflowed nor was allowed to run dry. This was the first artificial truly automatic self-regulatory device that required no outside intervention between the feedback and the controls of the mechanism. Although they did not refer to this concept by the name of Cybernetics (they considered it a field of engineering), Ktesibios and others such as Heron
Hero of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria was an ancient Greek mathematician and engineerEnc. Britannica 2007, "Heron of Alexandria" who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt...

 and Su Song
Su Song
Su Song was a renowned Chinese polymath who specialized himself as a statesman, astronomer, cartographer, horologist, pharmacologist, mineralogist, zoologist, botanist, mechanical and architectural engineer, poet, antiquarian, and ambassador of the Song Dynasty .Su Song was the engineer of a...

 are considered to be some of the first to study cybernetic principles.

The study of teleological
Teleology
A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos; root: τελε-, "end, purpose...

 mechanisms (from the Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 τέλος or telos for end, goal, or purpose) in machines with corrective feedback dates from as far back as the late 18th century when James Watt's steam engine was equipped with a governor
Governor (device)
A governor, or speed limiter, is a device used to measure and regulate the speed of a machine, such as an engine. A classic example is the centrifugal governor, also known as the Watt or fly-ball governor, which uses a rotating assembly of weights mounted on arms to determine how fast the engine...

, a centrifugal feedback valve for controlling the speed of the engine. Alfred Russel Wallace
Alfred Russel Wallace
Alfred Russel Wallace, OM, FRS was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist...

 identified this as the principle of evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 in his famous 1858 paper. In 1868 James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell of Glenlair was a Scottish physicist and mathematician. His most prominent achievement was formulating classical electromagnetic theory. This united all previously unrelated observations, experiments and equations of electricity, magnetism and optics into a consistent theory...

 published a theoretical article on governors, one of the first to discuss and refine the principles of self-regulating devices. Jakob von Uexküll
Jakob von Uexküll
Jakob Johann von Uexküll was a Estonian biologist who worked in the fields of muscular physiology, animal behaviour studies, and the cybernetics of life. However, his most notable contribution is the notion of umwelt, used by semiotician Thomas Sebeok...

 applied the feedback mechanism via his model of functional cycle (Funktionskreis) in order to explain animal behaviour and the origins of meaning in general.

The early 20th century


Contemporary cybernetics began as an interdisciplinary study connecting the fields of control systems, electrical network theory, mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

, logic modeling, evolutionary biology and neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

 in the 1940s. Electronic control systems originated with the 1927 work of Bell Telephone Laboratories
Bell Labs
Bell Laboratories is the research and development subsidiary of the French-owned Alcatel-Lucent and previously of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company , half-owned through its Western Electric manufacturing subsidiary.Bell Laboratories operates its...

 engineer Harold S. Black
Harold Stephen Black
Harold Stephen Black was an American electrical engineer, who revolutionized the field of applied electronics by inventing the negative feedback amplifier in 1927. To some, his invention is considered the most important breakthrough of the twentieth century in the field of electronics, since it...

 on using negative feedback to control amplifiers. The ideas are also related to the biological work of Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy was an Austrian-born biologist known as one of the founders of general systems theory . GST is an interdisciplinary practice that describes systems with interacting components, applicable to biology, cybernetics, and other fields...

 in General Systems Theory.

Early applications of negative feedback in electronic circuits included the control of gun mounts and radar antenna during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Jay Forrester
Jay Wright Forrester
Jay Wright Forrester is a pioneer American computer engineer, systems scientist and was a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Forrester is known as the founder of System Dynamics, which deals with the simulation of interactions between objects in dynamic systems.- Biography :Forrester...

, a graduate student at the Servomechanisms Laboratory at MIT during WWII working with Gordon S. Brown
Gordon S. Brown
Gordon Stanley Brown was a professor of electrical engineering at MIT. He originated many of the concepts behind automatic-feedback control systems and the numerical control of machine tools. From 1959 to 1968, he served as the dean of MIT's engineering school. With his former student Donald P...

 to develop electronic control systems for the U.S. Navy, later applied these ideas to social organizations such as corporations and cities as an original organizer of the MIT School of Industrial Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Forrester is known as the founder of System Dynamics
System dynamics
System dynamics is an approach to understanding the behaviour of complex systems over time. It deals with internal feedback loops and time delays that affect the behaviour of the entire system. What makes using system dynamics different from other approaches to studying complex systems is the use...

.

W. Edwards Deming
W. Edwards Deming
William Edwards Deming was an American statistician, professor, author, lecturer and consultant. He is perhaps best known for his work in Japan...

, the Total Quality Management
Total Quality Management
Total quality management or TQM is an integrative philosophy of management for continuously improving the quality of products and processes....

 guru for whom Japan named its top post-WWII industrial prize
Deming Prize
The Deming prize, established in December 1950 in honor of W. Edwards Deming, was originally designed to reward Japanese companies for major advances in quality improvement...

, was an intern at Bell Telephone Labs
Bell Labs
Bell Laboratories is the research and development subsidiary of the French-owned Alcatel-Lucent and previously of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company , half-owned through its Western Electric manufacturing subsidiary.Bell Laboratories operates its...

 in 1927 and may have been influenced by network theory
Network theory
Network theory is an area of computer science and network science and part of graph theory. It has application in many disciplines including statistical physics, particle physics, computer science, biology, economics, operations research, and sociology...

. Deming made "Understanding Systems" one of the four pillars of what he described as "Profound Knowledge" in his book "The New Economics."

Numerous papers spearheaded the coalescing of the field. In 1935 Russian physiologist P.K. Anokhin
Pyotr Anokhin
Pyotr Kuzmich Anokhin was a Russian biologist and physiologist who made important contributions to cybernetics and functional systems. His pioneering concept on feedback were published in 1935.- Overview :...

 published a book in which the concept of feedback
Feedback
Feedback describes the situation when output from an event or phenomenon in the past will influence an occurrence or occurrences of the same Feedback describes the situation when output from (or information about the result of) an event or phenomenon in the past will influence an occurrence or...

 ("back afferent
Afferent
Afferent is an anatomical term with the following meanings:*Conveying towards a center, for example the afferent arterioles conveying blood towards the Bowman's capsule in the Kidney. Opposite to Efferent.*Something that so conducts, see Afferent nerve fiber...

ation") was studied. The study and mathematical modelling of regulatory processes became a continuing research effort and two key articles were published in 1943. These papers were "Behavior, Purpose and Teleology" by Arturo Rosenblueth
Arturo Rosenblueth
Arturo Rosenblueth Stearns was a Mexican researcher, physician and physiologist, who is known as one of the pioneers of cybernetics.- Biography:...

, Norbert Wiener, and Julian Bigelow
Julian Bigelow
-Life:Bigelow was born in 1913 and obtained a master's degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying electrical engineering and mathematics...

; and the paper "A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity" by Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts
Walter Pitts
Walter Harry Pitts, Jr. was a logician who worked in the field of cognitive psychology.He proposed landmark theoretical formulations of neural activity and emergent processes that influenced diverse fields such as cognitive sciences and psychology, philosophy, neurosciences, computer science,...

.

Cybernetics as a discipline was firmly established by Wiener, McCulloch
Warren Sturgis McCulloch
Warren Sturgis McCulloch was an American neurophysiologist and cybernetician, known for his work on the foundation for certain brain theories and his contribution to the cybernetics movement.- Biography :...

 and others, such as W. Ross Ashby and W. Grey Walter
William Grey Walter
W. Grey Walter was a neurophysiologist and robotician.-Overview:Walter was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1910. His ancestry was German/British on his father's side, and American/British on his mother's side. He was brought to England in 1915, and educated at Westminster School and afterwards...

. Walter was one of the first to build autonomous robots as an aid to the study of animal behaviour. Together with the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, an important geographical locus of early cybernetics was France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.

In the spring of 1947, Wiener was invited to a congress on harmonic analysis, held in Nancy, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. The event was organized by the Bourbaki, a French scientific society, and mathematician Szolem Mandelbrojt (1899–1983), uncle of the world-famous mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot
Benoît Mandelbrot
Benoît B. Mandelbrot was a French American mathematician. Born in Poland, he moved to France with his family when he was a child...

.

During this stay in France, Wiener received the offer to write a manuscript on the unifying character of this part of applied mathematics, which is found in the study of Brownian motion
Brownian motion
Brownian motion or pedesis is the presumably random drifting of particles suspended in a fluid or the mathematical model used to describe such random movements, which is often called a particle theory.The mathematical model of Brownian motion has several real-world applications...

 and in telecommunication engineering. The following summer, back in the United States, Wiener decided to introduce the neologism cybernetics into his scientific theory. The name cybernetics was coined to denote the study of "teleological mechanisms" and was popularized through his book Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and Machine (Hermann & Cie, Paris, 1948). In the UK this became the focus for the Ratio Club
Ratio Club
The Ratio Club was a small informal dining club of young psychologists, physiologists, mathematicians and engineers who met to discuss issues in cybernetics....

.

In the early 1940s John von Neumann
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...

, although better known for his work in mathematics and computer science, did contribute a unique and unusual addition to the world of cybernetics: Von Neumann cellular automata
Von Neumann cellular automata
Von Neumann cellular automata are the original expression of cellular automata, the development of which were prompted by suggestions made to John von Neumann by his close friend and fellow mathematician Stanisław Ulam...

, and their logical follow up the Von Neumann Universal Constructor
Von Neumann universal constructor
John von Neumann's Universal Constructor is a self-replicating machine in a cellular automata environment. It was designed in the 1940s, without the use of a computer. The fundamental details of the machine were published in von Neumann's book Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata, completed in...

. The result of these deceptively simple thought-experiments was the concept of self replication which cybernetics adopted as a core concept. The concept that the same properties of genetic reproduction applied to social memes, living cells, and even computer viruses is further proof of the somewhat surprising universality of cybernetic study.

Wiener popularized the social implications of cybernetics, drawing analogies between automatic systems (such as a regulated steam engine) and human institutions in his best-selling The Human Use of Human Beings : Cybernetics and Society (Houghton-Mifflin, 1950).

While not the only instance of a research organization focused on cybernetics, the Biological Computer Lab at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, under the direction of Heinz von Foerster
Heinz von Foerster
Heinz von Foerster was an Austrian American scientist combining physics and philosophy. Together with Warren McCulloch, Norbert Wiener, John von Neumann, Lawrence J. Fogel, and others, Heinz von Foerster was an architect of cybernetics.-Biography:Von Foerster was born in 1911 in Vienna, Austria,...

, was a major center of cybernetic research for almost 20 years, beginning in 1958.

The rebirth of cybernetics


In the 1970s, new cyberneticians
New Cybernetics
New Cybernetics is a study of self-organizing systems according to Peter Harries-Jones , "looking beyond the issues of the "first", "old" or "original" cybernetics and their politics and sciences of control, to the autonomy and self-organization capabilities of complex systems"...

 emerged in multiple fields, but especially in biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

. The ideas of Maturana
Humberto Maturana
Humberto Maturana is a Chilean biologist and philosopher. He is considered a member of the second wave of cybernetics, known for developing a theory of autopoiesis about the nature of reflexive feedback control in living systems.- Biography :After completing secondary school at the Liceo Manuel de...

, Varela
Francisco Varela
Francisco Javier Varela García , was a Chilean biologist, philosopher and neuroscientist who, together with his teacher Humberto Maturana, is best known for introducing the concept of autopoiesis to biology.-Biography:...

 and Atlan
Henri Atlan
Henri Atlan is a French biophysicist and philosopher.Born to a Jewish family in French Algeria, Atlan gained degrees in medicine and biophysics at the University of Paris . He then moved to the University of California, Berkeley working on aging and mutation...

, according to Dupuy (1986) "realized that the cybernetic metaphors of the program upon which molecular biology had been based rendered a conception of the autonomy of the living being impossible. Consequently, these thinkers were led to invent a new cybernetics, one more suited to the organizations which mankind discovers in nature - organizations he has not himself invented". However, during the 1980s the question of whether the features of this new cybernetics could be applied to social forms of organization remained open to debate.

In political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, Project Cybersyn
Project Cybersyn
Project Cybersyn was a Chilean attempt at real-time computer-controlled planned economy in the years 1970–1973 . It was essentially a network of telex machines that linked factories with a single computer centre in Santiago, which controlled them using principles of cybernetics...

 attempted to introduce a cybernetically controlled economy during the early 1970s. In the 1980s, according to Harries-Jones (1988) "unlike its predecessor, the new cybernetics concerns itself with the interaction of autonomous political actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

s and subgroups, and the practical and reflexive consciousness of the subjects who produce and reproduce the structure of a political community. A dominant consideration is that of recursiveness, or self-reference of political action both with regards to the expression of political consciousness and with the ways in which systems build upon themselves".

One characteristic of the emerging new cybernetics considered in that time by Geyer and van der Zouwen, according to Bailey (1994), was "that it views information as constructed and reconstructed by an individual interacting with the environment. This provides an epistemological foundation of science, by viewing it as observer-dependent. Another characteristic of the new cybernetics is its contribution towards bridging the "micro-macro gap". That is, it links the individual with the society". Another characteristic noted was the "transition from classical cybernetics to the new cybernetics [that] involves a transition from classical problems to new problems. These shifts in thinking involve, among others, (a) a change from emphasis on the system being steered to the system doing the steering, and the factor which guides the steering decisions.; and (b) new emphasis on communication between several systems which are trying to steer each other". The work of Gregory Bateson
Gregory Bateson
Gregory Bateson was an English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, visual anthropologist, semiotician and cyberneticist whose work intersected that of many other fields. He had a natural ability to recognize order and pattern in the universe...

 was also strongly influenced by cybernetics.

Recent endeavors into the true focus of cybernetics, systems of control and emergent behavior, by such related fields as game theory
Game theory
Game theory is a mathematical method for analyzing calculated circumstances, such as in games, where a person’s success is based upon the choices of others...

 (the analysis of group interaction), systems of feedback in evolution, and metamaterials (the study of materials with properties beyond the Newtonian properties of their constituent atoms), have led to a revived interest in this increasingly relevant field.

Subdivisions of the field


Cybernetics is an earlier but still-used generic term for many types of subject matter. These subjects also extend into many others areas of science, but are united in their study of control of systems.

Basic cybernetics


Cybernetics studies systems of control as a concept, attempting to discover the basic principles underlying such things as
  • Artificial intelligence
    Artificial intelligence
    Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

  • Robotics
    Robotics
    Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...

  • Computer Vision
    Computer vision
    Computer vision is a field that includes methods for acquiring, processing, analysing, and understanding images and, in general, high-dimensional data from the real world in order to produce numerical or symbolic information, e.g., in the forms of decisions...

  • Control system
    Control system
    A control system is a device, or set of devices to manage, command, direct or regulate the behavior of other devices or system.There are two common classes of control systems, with many variations and combinations: logic or sequential controls, and feedback or linear controls...

    s
  • Emergence
    Emergence
    In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems....

  • Learning organization
    Learning organization
    A learning organization is the term given to a company that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself. Learning organizations develop as a result of the pressures facing modern organizations and enables them to remain competitive in the business environment...

  • New Cybernetics
    New Cybernetics
    New Cybernetics is a study of self-organizing systems according to Peter Harries-Jones , "looking beyond the issues of the "first", "old" or "original" cybernetics and their politics and sciences of control, to the autonomy and self-organization capabilities of complex systems"...

  • Second-order cybernetics
    Second-order cybernetics
    Second-order cybernetics, also known as the cybernetics of cybernetics, investigates the construction of models of cybernetic systems. It investigates cybernetics with awareness that the investigators are part of the system, and of the importance of self-referentiality, self-organizing, the...

  • Interactions of Actors Theory
  • Conversation Theory
    Conversation Theory
    Conversation Theory is a cybernetic and dialectic framework that offers a scientific theory to explain how interactions lead to "construction of knowledge", or, "knowing": wishing to preserve both the dynamic/kinetic quality, and the necessity for there to be a "knower"...

  • Self-organization in cybernetics

In biology


Cybernetics in biology is the study of cybernetic systems present in biological organisms, primarily focusing on how animals adapt to their environment, and how information in the form of genes
Gênes
Gênes is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Italy, named after the city of Genoa. It was formed in 1805, when Napoleon Bonaparte occupied the Republic of Genoa. Its capital was Genoa, and it was divided in the arrondissements of Genoa, Bobbio, Novi Ligure, Tortona and...

 is passed from generation to generation. There is also a secondary focus on combining artificial systems with biological systems.
  • Bioengineering
  • Biocybernetics
    Biocybernetics
    Biocybernetics is the application of cybernetics to biological science, composed of biological disciplines that benefit from the application of cybernetics: neurology, multicellular systems and others...

  • Bionics
    Bionics
    Bionics is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology.The word bionic was coined by Jack E...

  • Homeostasis
    Homeostasis
    Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition of properties like temperature or pH...

  • Medical cybernetics
    Medical cybernetics
    Medical Cybernetics is a branch of cybernetics which has been heavily affected by the development of the computer, which applies the concepts of cybernetics to medical research and practice...

  • Synthetic Biology
    Synthetic biology
    Synthetic biology is a new area of biological research that combines science and engineering. It encompasses a variety of different approaches, methodologies, and disciplines with a variety of definitions...

  • Systems Biology
    Systems biology
    Systems biology is a term used to describe a number of trends in bioscience research, and a movement which draws on those trends. Proponents describe systems biology as a biology-based inter-disciplinary study field that focuses on complex interactions in biological systems, claiming that it uses...


In computer science


Computer science directly applies the concepts of cybernetics to the control of devices and the analysis of information.
  • Robotics
    Robotics
    Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...

  • Decision support system
    Decision support system
    A decision support system is a computer-based information system that supports business or organizational decision-making activities. DSSs serve the management, operations, and planning levels of an organization and help to make decisions, which may be rapidly changing and not easily specified in...

  • Cellular automaton
    Cellular automaton
    A cellular automaton is a discrete model studied in computability theory, mathematics, physics, complexity science, theoretical biology and microstructure modeling. It consists of a regular grid of cells, each in one of a finite number of states, such as "On" and "Off"...

  • Simulation
    Simulation
    Simulation is the imitation of some real thing available, state of affairs, or process. The act of simulating something generally entails representing certain key characteristics or behaviours of a selected physical or abstract system....

  • Technology
    Technology
    Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...


In engineering


Cybernetics in engineering is used to analyze cascading failure
Cascading failure
A cascading failure is a failure in a system of interconnected parts in which the failure of a part can trigger the failure of successive parts.- Cascading failure in power transmission :...

s and System Accident
System Accident
A system accident is an "unanticipated interaction of multiple failures" in a complex system. This complexity can either be technological or organizational, and often is both....

s, in which the small errors and imperfections in a system can generate disasters. Other topics studied include:
  • Adaptive system
    Adaptive system
    The term adaptation arises mainly in the biological scope as a trial to study the relationship between the characteristics of living beings and their environments...

    s
  • Engineering cybernetics
    Engineering cybernetics
    Engineering cybernetics or technical cybernetics, established by H.S. Tsien, is a field of cybernetics, which deals with the question of control engineering of mechatronic systems as well as chemical or biological systems...

  • Ergonomics
    Ergonomics
    Ergonomics is the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements, and its cognitive abilities.The International Ergonomics Association defines ergonomics as follows:...

  • Biomedical engineering
    Biomedical engineering
    Biomedical Engineering is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology. This field seeks to close the gap between engineering and medicine: It combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to improve...

  • Systems engineering
    Systems engineering
    Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focuses on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed over the life cycle of the project. Issues such as logistics, the coordination of different teams, and automatic control of machinery become more...


In management

  • Entrepreneurial cybernetics
  • Management cybernetics
    Management cybernetics
    Management cybernetics is the field of cybernetics concerned with management and organizations. The notion of cybernetics and management was first introduced by Stafford Beer in the late 1950s-Cybernetics and Complexity:...

  • Organizational cybernetics
  • Operations research
    Operations research
    Operations research is an interdisciplinary mathematical science that focuses on the effective use of technology by organizations...

  • Systems engineering
    Systems engineering
    Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focuses on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed over the life cycle of the project. Issues such as logistics, the coordination of different teams, and automatic control of machinery become more...


In mathematics


Mathematical Cybernetics focuses on the factors of information, interaction of parts in systems, and the structure of systems.
  • Dynamical system
    Dynamical system
    A dynamical system is a concept in mathematics where a fixed rule describes the time dependence of a point in a geometrical space. Examples include the mathematical models that describe the swinging of a clock pendulum, the flow of water in a pipe, and the number of fish each springtime in a...

  • Information theory
    Information theory
    Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and...

  • Systems theory
    Systems theory
    Systems theory is the transdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research...


In psychology

  • Homunculus
    Homunculus
    Homunculus is a term used, generally, in various fields of study to refer to any representation of a human being. Historically, it referred specifically to the concept of a miniature though fully formed human body, for example, in the studies of alchemy and preformationism...

  • Psycho-Cybernetics
    Psycho-Cybernetics
    Psycho-Cybernetics is a classic self-help book, written by Maxwell Maltz in 1960 and published by the non-profit Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation. Motivational and self-help experts in personal development, including Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy have based their techniques on Maxwell Maltz...

  • Systems psychology
    Systems psychology
    Systems psychology is a branch of applied psychology that studies human behaviour and experience in complex systems. It is inspired by systems theory and systems thinking, and based on the theoretical work of Roger Barker, Gregory Bateson, Humberto Maturana and others. It is an approach in...

  • Perceptual Control Theory
    Perceptual control theory
    Perceptual control theory is a model of the psychological and behavioral processes occurring within living beings, including humans. It demonstrates that animals are goal-driven, purposeful entities rather than automata repeating conditioned responses to external stimuli or computers planning...

  • Psychovector Analysis
    Hunter B. Shirley
    Hunter B. Shirley was a longtime licensed clinical psychologist and a former Associate Professor at Wisconsin State University where he headed a psychological research laboratory devoted to evaluating the world's first analog model of the mind...


In sociology


By examining group behavior through the lens of cybernetics, sociologists can seek the reasons for such spontaneous events as smart mob
Smart mob
A smart mob is a group that, contrary to the usual connotations of a mob, behaves intelligently or efficiently because of its exponentially increasing network links. This network enables people to connect to information and others, allowing a form of social coordination. Parallels are made to,...

s and riots, as well as how communities develop rules such as etiquette by consensus without formal discussion. Affect Control Theory
Affect control theory
In control theory affect control theory proposes that individuals maintain affective meanings through their actions and interpretations of events...

 explains role
Role
A role or a social role is a set of connected behaviours, rights and obligations as conceptualised by actors in a social situation. It is an expected or free or continuously changing behaviour and may have a given individual social status or social position...

 behavior, emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

s, and labeling theory
Labeling theory
Labeling theory is closely related to interactionist and social construction theories. Labeling theory was developed by sociologists during the 1960's. Howard Saul Becker's book entitled Outsiders was extremely influential in the development of this theory and its rise to popularity...

 in terms of homeostatic maintenance of sentiments associated with cultural categories. The most comprehensive attempt ever made in the social sciences to increase cybernetics in a generalized theory of society was made by Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons was an American sociologist who served on the faculty of Harvard University from 1927 to 1973....

. In this way, cybernetics establishes the basic hierarchy in Parsons' AGIL paradigm
AGIL Paradigm
The AGIL paradigm is a sociological scheme created by American sociologist Talcott Parsons in the 1950s. It is a systematic depiction of certain societal functions, which every society must meet to be able to maintain stable social life...

, which is the ordering system-dimension of his action theory
Action theory
Action theory is an area in philosophy concerned with theories about the processes causing willful human bodily movements of more or less complex kind. This area of thought has attracted the strong interest of philosophers ever since Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics...

. These and other cybernetic models in sociology are reviewed in a book edited by McClelland and Fararo.
  • Affect Control Theory
    Affect control theory
    In control theory affect control theory proposes that individuals maintain affective meanings through their actions and interpretations of events...

  • Memetics
    Memetics
    Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, originating from Richard Dawkins' 1976 book The Selfish Gene. It purports to be an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer. A meme, analogous to a gene, is essentially a "unit of...

  • Sociocybernetics
    Sociocybernetics
    Sociocybernetics is an independent chapter of science in sociology based upon the General Systems Theory and cybernetics.It also has a basis in Organizational Development consultancy practice and in Theories of Communication, theories of psychotherapies and computer sciences...


In art


The artist Roy Ascott
Roy Ascott
Roy Ascott is a British artist and theorist, who works with cybernetics and telematics. He is President of the Planetary Collegium.- Biography :...

 theorised the cybernetics of art in "Behaviourist Art and the Cybernetic Vision". Cybernetica, Journal of the International Association for Cybernetics (Namur), 1967.
  • Telematic art
    Telematic art
    Telematic art is a descriptive of art projects using computer mediated telecommunications networks as their medium. Telematic art challenges the traditional relationship between active viewing subjects and passive art objects by creating interactive, behavioural contexts for remote aesthetic...

  • Interactive Art
    Interactive art
    Interactive art is a form of installation-based art that involves the spectator in a way that allows the art to achieve its purpose. Some installations achieve this by letting the observer or visitor "walk" in, on, and around them; Some others ask the artist to become part of the artwork.Works of...

  • Systems art
    Systems art
    Systems art is art influenced by cybernetics, and systems theory, which reflects on natural systems, social systems and social signs of the art world itself....


Complexity science


Complexity science attempts to understand the nature of complex systems.
  • Complex Adaptive System
    Complex adaptive system
    Complex adaptive systems are special cases of complex systems. They are complex in that they are dynamic networks of interactions and relationships not aggregations of static entities...

  • Complex systems
    Complex systems
    Complex systems present problems in mathematical modelling.The equations from which complex system models are developed generally derive from statistical physics, information theory and non-linear dynamics, and represent organized but unpredictable behaviors of systems of nature that are considered...

  • Complexity theory
    Computational complexity theory
    Computational complexity theory is a branch of the theory of computation in theoretical computer science and mathematics that focuses on classifying computational problems according to their inherent difficulty, and relating those classes to each other...


See also


  • Artificial life
    Artificial life
    Artificial life is a field of study and an associated art form which examine systems related to life, its processes, and its evolution through simulations using computer models, robotics, and biochemistry. The discipline was named by Christopher Langton, an American computer scientist, in 1986...

  • Automation
    Automation
    Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond mechanization...

  • Brain-computer interface
    Brain-computer interface
    A brain–computer interface , sometimes called a direct neural interface or a brain–machine interface , is a direct communication pathway between the brain and an external device...

  • Chaos theory
    Chaos theory
    Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including physics, economics, biology, and philosophy. Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, an effect which is popularly referred to as the...

  • Connectionism
    Connectionism
    Connectionism is a set of approaches in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience and philosophy of mind, that models mental or behavioral phenomena as the emergent processes of interconnected networks of simple units...

  • Decision theory
    Decision theory
    Decision theory in economics, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, and statistics is concerned with identifying the values, uncertainties and other issues relevant in a given decision, its rationality, and the resulting optimal decision...


  • Family therapy
    Family therapy
    Family therapy, also referred to as couple and family therapy, family systems therapy, and family counseling, is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. It tends to view change in terms of the systems of...

  • Gaia hypothesis
    Gaia hypothesis
    The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on Earth are closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system, maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.The scientific investigation of the...

  • Industrial Ecology
    Industrial ecology
    Industrial Ecology is the study of material and energy flows through industrial systems. The global industrial economy can be modeled as a network of industrial processes that extract resources from the Earth and transform those resources into commodities which can be bought and sold to meet the...

  • Intelligence amplification
    Intelligence amplification
    Intelligence amplification refers to the effective use of information technology in augmenting human intelligence...

  • Management science
  • Perceptual control theory
    Perceptual control theory
    Perceptual control theory is a model of the psychological and behavioral processes occurring within living beings, including humans. It demonstrates that animals are goal-driven, purposeful entities rather than automata repeating conditioned responses to external stimuli or computers planning...



  • Principia Cybernetica
    Principia Cybernetica
    Principia Cybernetica is an international cooperation of scientists in the field of cybernetics and systems science, especially known for their Principia Cybernetica Web website...

  • Project Cybersyn
    Project Cybersyn
    Project Cybersyn was a Chilean attempt at real-time computer-controlled planned economy in the years 1970–1973 . It was essentially a network of telex machines that linked factories with a single computer centre in Santiago, which controlled them using principles of cybernetics...

  • Viable System Model
    Viable System Model
    The viable systems model, or VSM is a model of the organisational structure of any viable or autonomous system. A viable system is any system organised in such a way as to meet the demands of surviving in the changing environment. One of the prime features of systems that survive is that they are...

  • Semiotics
    Semiotics
    Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes , indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication...

  • Superorganisms
  • Synergetics
    Synergetics
    Synergetics is an interdisciplinary science explaining the formation and self-organization of patterns and structures in open systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium. It is founded by Hermann Haken, inspired by the laser theory....


Further reading


  • Andrew Pickering
    Andrew Pickering
    Andrew Pickering is a sociologist, philosopher and historian of science at the University of Exeter. He was a professor of sociology and a director of science and technology studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign until 2007. He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of...

     (2010) The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future University Of Chicago Press.
  • Slava Gerovitch (2002) From Newspeak to Cyberspeak: A History of Soviet Cybernetics MIT Press.
  • John Johnston, (2008) "The Allure of Machinic Life: Cybernetics, Artificial Life, and the New AI", MIT Press
  • Heikki Hyötyniemi (2006). Neocybernetics in Biological Systems. Espoo: Helsinki University of Technology, Control Engineering Laboratory.
  • Eden Medina, "Designing Freedom, Regulating a Nation: Socialist Cybernetics in Allende's Chile." Journal of Latin American Studies 38 (2006):571-606.
  • Lars Bluma, (2005), Norbert Wiener und die Entstehung der Kybernetik im Zweiten Weltkrieg, Münster.
  • Francis Heylighen
    Francis Heylighen
    Francis Paul Heylighen is a Belgian cyberneticist, and research professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Dutch-speaking Free University of Brussels, where he directs the transdisciplinary research group on "Evolution, Complexity and Cognition".-Biography:Francis Heylighen was born on...

    , and Cliff Joslyn
    Cliff Joslyn
    Cliff Joslyn is an American cognitive scientist, cyberneticist, and currently Chief Scientist for Knowledge Sciences at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, USA.- Biography :...

     (2001). "Cybernetics and Second Order Cybernetics", in: R.A. Meyers (ed.), Encyclopedia of Physical Science & Technology (3rd ed.), Vol. 4, (Academic Press, New York), p. 155-170.
  • Charles François
    Charles François
    Charles François, , is a Belgian administrator, editor and scientist in the field of cybernetics, systems theory and systems science, internationally known for his main work the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics.- Biography :...

     (1999). "Systemics and cybernetics in a historical perspective". In: Systems Research and Behavioral Science. Vol 16, pp. 203–219 (1999)
  • Heinz von Foerster
    Heinz von Foerster
    Heinz von Foerster was an Austrian American scientist combining physics and philosophy. Together with Warren McCulloch, Norbert Wiener, John von Neumann, Lawrence J. Fogel, and others, Heinz von Foerster was an architect of cybernetics.-Biography:Von Foerster was born in 1911 in Vienna, Austria,...

    , (1995), Ethics and Second-Order Cybernetics.
  • Steve J. Heims (1993), Constructing a Social Science for Postwar America. The Cybernetics Group, 1946-1953, Cambridge University Press, London, UK.
  • Paul Pangaro (1990), "Cybernetics — A Definition", Eprint.
  • Stuart Umpleby
    Stuart Umpleby
    Stuart Anspach Umpleby is an American cybernetician and a professor in the Department of Management and Director of the Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning in the School of Business at the George Washington University....

     (1989), [ftp://ftp.vub.ac.be/pub/projects/Principia_Cybernetica/Papers_Umpleby/Science-Cybernetics.txt "The science of cybernetics and the cybernetics of science"], in: Cybernetics and Systems", Vol. 21, No. 1, (1990), pp. 109–121.
  • Michael A. Arbib
    Michael A. Arbib
    Michael A. Arbib is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science, as well as a Professor of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Southern California...

     (1987, 1964) Brains, Machines, and Mathematics Springer.
  • B.C. Patten, and E.P. Odum (1981), "The Cybernetic Nature of Ecosystems", The American Naturalist 118, 886-895.
  • Hans Joachim Ilgauds (1980), Norbert Wiener, Leipzig.
  • Steve J. Heims (1980), John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener: From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, 3. Aufl., Cambridge.
  • Stafford Beer (1974), Designing Freedom, John Wiley, London and New York, 1975.
  • Gordon Pask
    Gordon Pask
    Andrew Gordon Speedie Pask was an English cybernetician and psychologist who made significant contributions to cybernetics, instructional psychology, experimental epistemology and educational technology....

     (1972), "Cybernetics", entry in Encyclopædia Britannica 1972.
  • Helvey, T.C. The Age of Information: An Interdisciplinary Survey of Cybernetics. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Educational Technology Publications, 1971.
  • Roy Ascott
    Roy Ascott
    Roy Ascott is a British artist and theorist, who works with cybernetics and telematics. He is President of the Planetary Collegium.- Biography :...

     (1967). Behaviourist Art and the Cybernetic Vision. Cybernetica, Journal of the International Association for Cybernetics (Namur), 10, pp. 25–56
  • W. Ross Ashby (1956), Introduction to Cybernetics. Methuen, London, UK. PDF text.
  • Norbert Wiener
    Norbert Wiener
    Norbert Wiener was an American mathematician.A famous child prodigy, Wiener later became an early researcher in stochastic and noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems.Wiener is regarded as the originator of cybernetics, a...

     (1948), Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, (Hermann & Cie Editeurs, Paris, The Technology Press, Cambridge, Mass., John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York, 1948).

External links


General
Societies