Norbert Wiener defined cybernetics in 1948 as "the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.that is, where action by the system generates some change in its environment and that change is reflected in the system in some manner (feedback) that triggers a system change. Cybernetics is relevant to, for example, mechanical, physical, biological, cognitive, and social systems. Cybernetics includes the study of feedback, black boxes and derived concepts such as communication and control in living organisms, machines and organizations including self-organization. Contemporary cybernetics began as an interdisciplinary study connecting the fields of control systems, electrical network theory, mechanical engineering, logic modeling, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, and psychology in the 1940s, often attributed to the Macy Conferences. During the second half of the 20th century cybernetics evolved in ways that distinguish first-order cybernetics (about observed systems) from second-order cybernetics (about observing systems). 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 and effective. Fields of study which have influenced or been influenced by cybernetics include game theory, system theory (a mathematical counterpart to cybernetics), perceptual control theory, sociology, psychology (especially neuropsychology, behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology), philosophy, architecture, and organizational theory. System dynamics, 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, is a related field.
The term cybernetics stems from κυβερνήτης (cybernḗtēs) Contemporary cybernetics began as an interdisciplinary study connecting the fields of control systems, electrical network theory, mechanical engineering, logic modeling, evolutionary biology and neuroscience in the 1940s; the ideas are also related to the biological work of Ludwig von Bertalanffy in General Systems Theory. Electronic control systems originated with the 1927 work of Bell Telephone Laboratories engineer Harold S. Black on using negative feedback to control amplifiers. Soviet cybernetics incorporated much of what became known as computer science in the West. Consequently, cybernetic sciences such as the study of artificial neural networks were downplayed; the discipline shifted into the world of social sciences and therapy. Another characteristic noted was the "transition from classical cybernetics to the new cybernetics that involves a transition from classical problems to new problems. On the other hand, Friedrich Hayek also mentions cybernetics as a discipline that could help economists understand the "self-organizing or self-generating systems" called markets. Hayek's definition of information is idiosyncratic and precedes the information theory used in cybernetics and the natural sciences. In the same book, Law, Legislation and Liberty, Hayek mentions, along with cybernetics, that economists should rely on the scientific findings of Ludwig von Bertalanffy general systems theory, along with information and communication theory and semiotics.
Cybernetics studies systems of control as a concept, attempting to discover the basic principles underlying such things as
Artificial intelligence Control systems Conversation theory Interactions of actors theory Learning organization Robotics Second-order cybernetics 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 is passed from generation to generation. There is also a secondary focus on combining artificial systems with biological systems. Medical cybernetics Synthetic biology Systems biology Practopoiesis
Computer science directly applies the concepts of cybernetics to the control of devices and the analysis of information.
Cellular automaton Decision support systems logic
Cybernetics in engineering is used to analyze cascading failures and system accidents, in which the small errors and imperfections in a system can generate disasters. Other topics studied include: Adaptive systems Engineering cybernetics Systems engineering
Autonomous agency theory Entrepreneurial cybernetics Management cybernetics Organizational cybernetics Systems engineering Viable system theory
Mathematical Cybernetics focuses on the factors of information, interaction of parts in systems, and the structure of systems.
Control theory Dynamical system Information theory Systems theory Category theory
Attachment theory Behavioral cybernetics analysis Systems psychology
In this way, cybernetics establishes the basic hierarchy in Parsons' AGIL paradigm, which is the ordering system-dimension of his action theory. Affect control theory Memetics The artist Roy Ascott elaborated an extensive theory of cybernetic art in Art historian Edward A. Shanken has written about the history of art and cybernetics in essays including "Cybernetics and Art: Cultural Convergence in the 1960s" and Telematic art Interactive art Systems art
Geocybernetics applies a dynamical systems perspective to Earth system analysis. Control systems Self-organization in cybernetics Consensus systems Metagovernment
Complexity science attempts to understand the nature of complex systems. Aspects of complexity science include:
Complex adaptive system Complex systems Complexity theory "Science concerned with the study of systems of any nature which are capable of receiving, storing and processing information so as to use it for control". From this perspective mechatronics are considered technical cybernetics or engineering cybernetics.
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