the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine
— Norbert Wiener
At MIT in particular, there was a tendency to take "the image of the machine as the basis for the understanding of man"
— Harold Hatt
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.
The idea that Man and his environment are mechanical systems which can be studied, improved, mimicked and controlled (...) gave way to disciplines such as cognitive science and artificial intelligence.
Bush not only proposed that the machine might learn from the human via what was effectively a cybernetic feedback loop - he proposed that the human might learn from the machine. As the human mind moulds the machine, so too the machine "remolds" the human mind, it "remolds the trails of the user's brain, as one lives and works in close interconnection with a machine"
-- The Technical Evolution of Vannevar Bush’s Memex The cybernetics phase of cognitive science produced an amazing array of concrete results, in addition to its long-term (often underground) influence:
- The use of mathematical logic to understand the operation of the nervous system
- The invention of information-processing machines (such as digital computers), thereby laying the basis for artificial intelligence
- The establishment of the metadiscipline of systems theory, which has had an imprint in many branches of science, such as engineering (systems analysis, control theory), biology (regulatory physiology, ecology), social sciences (family therapy, structural anthropology, management, urban studies), and economics (game theory)
- Information theory as a statistical theory of signal and communication channels
- The first examples of self-organizing systems
This is yet another application of Self-Cybernetics on myself — making my experiments visible to me, reminding myself to reflect on them, and presenting them to myself in a way that works around my psychology.
The work of art is more amenable to cybernetic analysis than a work of science, precisely because its criteria of validity are much less exact and above all much less coherent than those of the latter. Non-representational art in particular claims only that a certain quantity of order is present in the product to give it a consumer value, without indicating the distribution of that quantity of order existing in the different levels of this hierarchy of utilized semantemes.
second-order cybernetics refers to the practice of cybernetics where cyberneticians understand themselves to be part of the system they study. This is strongly associated with Heinz von Foerster
Model: Viewing yourself and your environment interacting as a system Action: Generating your own cybernetic systems to alter what you do
- Storing information into your environment
- Treating your future self as an unreliable actor and trying to influence it
- Creating or using tools/rules that generate a self-cybernetic system
non-cybernetic thinking: what type of note-taking system is the easiest to look things up? cybernetic-thinking: what type of note-taking system will cause me to write things down in a way that is easy to look them up?
How do you know when you're caught in a harmful cybernetic system (...)?
Do self-cybernetic systems weaken your willpower? Or is an emphasis on willpower less compassionate and understanding of the social environments that affect us? As opposed to self-cybernetics, what are self-agency exercises? Travel is perhaps an exercise where you do not design environments but appreciate them.
The music isn't in the piano.
— Alan Kay
- maybe the music is in the piano, at least a bit? - we build and tune pianos in a very specific way, to support making music, and these Tools are Building Us
- Gordon Brander argues that looking through a Cybernetic lens, the music is in a feedback loop between the piano and the player
A common preconception is that generally, understanding should precede acting and that theory is superior to practice (which depends on and is justified by theory), with post-rationalisation usually regarded as a shortcoming. In the context of radical constructivism, this preconception seems shortsighted: If acting generates understanding, and understanding, in turn, generates acting, the relationship of acting and doing can be described more appropriately as cyclical.
— Christiane M. Herr - Design Cybernetics: Constructing Cybernetic Thinking, Design, and Education