The cybernetics movements
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ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CYBERNETICS Given the promising and exciting beginnings of cybernetics, the outstanding scientists involved, and the subsequent impact of cybernetics on many disciplines, it is curious that the term “cybernetics” is not widely known or used today, even though most professional people spend several hours a day in “cyberspace. ” Margaret Mead commented on the development of cybernetics at the first ASC conference in 1968: We were impressed by the potential usefulness of a language sufficiently sophisticated to be used to solve complex human problems, and sufficiently abstract to make it possible to cross disciplinary boundaries. We thought we would go on to real interdisciplinary research, using this language as a medium.
Instead, the whole thing fragmented. Norbert Wiener wrote his book Cybernetics. It fascinated intellectuals and it looked for a while as if the ideas that he expressed would become a way of thought.
But they didn't. (Mead, 1968) Why did the cybernetics movement break up following the Macy Conferences? Actually it never came together.
People stayed in their home disciplines. Many very thought-provoking meetings were held under the label of cybernetics, but the educational programs that were established did not survive in discipline-oriented universities. When their founders retired, the programs were closed.
One consequence of the lack of educational programs at universities is that key ideas tend to be reinvented. One example is the work on complex adaptive systems centered at the Santa Fe Institute. These writers rarely refer to the early work in cybernetics and systems theory.
What prevented unity? There was never agreement on fundamentals. Eric Dent in his doctoral dissertation at The George .Скачать