Cyberspeak, the language of cybernetics, or its metalanguage to be more precise, consists of words that are both explaining and describing human/animal and machine forms of control and communication, while in newspeak, words were value-laden, which means they had strong positive or negative connotations connected to their use. For example, a 'spy' could only be a foreign agent, while a Russian one was a 'patriot'. First, it will be shown how there are still remnants of cyberspeak in modern science, pinpointing (...) its cybernetic background and shaping our thoughts without us realizing they had any cybernetic origin whatsoever. Second, it will be investigated how newspeak, as its counterpart, can be analyzed from the theory of speech acts. Third, the current war in Ukraine allowed us a brief analysis of newspeak present in Russian public communication today (Putin's speeches), which will again be connected to their performative aspect. (shrink)
La scorciatoia - Come le macchine sono diventate intelligenti senza pensare in modo umano -/- Le nostre creature sono diverse da noi e talvolta più forti. Per poterci convivere dobbiamo imparare a conoscerle Vagliano curricula, concedono mutui, scelgono le notizie che leggiamo: le macchine intelligenti sono entrate nelle nostre vite, ma non sono come ce le aspettavamo. Fanno molte delle cose che volevamo, e anche qualcuna in più, ma non possiamo capirle o ragionare con loro, perché il loro comportamento è (...) in realtà guidato da relazioni statistiche ricavate da quantità sovrumane di dati. Eppure possono essere in certi casi più potenti di noi: ci osservano continuamente, e prendono decisioni al nostro posto. E allora come incorporarle nella nostra società senza rischi ed effetti collaterali? Questo libro - rigoroso, pungente, originale nell'approccio - ci spiega come siamo arrivati sin qui, e indica il percorso che ci aspetta prima di poterci fidare di questi nuovi agenti «alieni». La tecnologia non basta, occorre un dialogo tra scienze naturali e umane: è il passaggio cruciale per una convivenza sicura con questa nuova forma di intelligenza. (Il Mulino). (shrink)
The purpose of this study is to compile a selection of the various formalisms found in conversation theory to introduce readers to Pask's discursive algebra. In this way, the text demonstrates how concept sharing and concept formation by means of the interaction of two participants may be formalized. The approach taken in this study is to examine the formal notation system used by Pask and demonstrate how such formalisms may be used to represent concept sharing and concept formation through conversation. (...) The compilation of the discursive algebra using the framework provided by conversation theory could potentially be used as an auxiliary framework to study conversational interactions in multi-agent systems theory. (shrink)
The purpose of the following text is to give readers a general introduction to Gordon Pask’s conversation theory, which is considered here to be a cybernetic and epistemological account of concept-forming and concept-sharing through conversational discourse and practice. While Pask devoted three lengthy tomes to articulate the theory and its applications, I believe it is necessary to give readers who are interested in conversation theory a general introduction to what I believe are the key features of his work in this (...) area. I argue that conversation theory should be considered an inferential account of the theory of concepts rather than a representational account, by virtue of Pask’s argument that a concept must be a process that involves many other concepts. (shrink)
The rise of mechanistic science in the seventeenth century helped give rise to a heated debate about whether teleology—the appearance of purposive activity in life and in mind—could be naturalized. At issue here were both what is meant by “teleology” as well as what is meant “nature”. I shall examine a specific episode in the history of this debate in the twentieth century with the rise of cybernetics: the science of seemingly “self-controlled” systems. Against cybernetics, Hans Jonas argued that cybernetics (...) failed as a naturalistic theory of teleology and that the reality of teleology is grounded in phenomenology, not in scientific explanations. I shall argue that Jonas was correct to criticize cybernetics but that contemporary work in biological organization succeeds where cybernetics failed. I will then turn to contemporary uses of Jonas’s phenomenology in enactivism and argue that Jonas’s phenomenology should be avoided by enactivism as a scientific research program, but that it remains open whether enactivism as a philosophy of nature should also avoid Jonas. (shrink)
The editorial introduces issue 21.1 of Technoetic Arts via a critical reflection on the artificial intelligence hype (AI hype) that emerged in 2022. Tracing the history of the critique of Large Language Models, the editorial underscores that the recent calls for slowing down the development of AI, as promoted by the technology industry, do not signify a shift towards reason and considerate economics. Instead, as these calls are firmly embedded in narratives where the power to decide for the majority of (...) humanity lies solely with the CEOs of AI companies, they are indicative of a relentless pursuit of economic interests. The technology industry has consistently downplayed criticism over the years. -/- While patterns of creative output can be replicated without a thorough understanding of underlying concepts, the editorial highlights the distinction between the current AI technology's reliance on extensive pre-existing human-generated data for pattern recognition and the performative process inherent in art practice. This performative process, as explored through the conceptual frameworks of creativity by Noam Chomsky, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Roger T. Ames and with reference to an earlier publication of the editorial's author, continually 'strives to extend itself towards the unknown.' -/- Following this introductory section, the editorial provides an overview of the ten articles featured in this issue of Technoetic Arts. The first four texts engage with emerging technologies from various perspectives in art and design. The subsequent six articles, part of a special section titled 'Perspectives from Chandigarh,' reflect a quest for meaningful existence within colonial, patriarchal, and biopolitical structures that frame everyday practices of exclusion and oppression. (shrink)
What kind of technology is the piano? It was once a distinctly everyday technology. In the bourgeois home of the nineteenth century it became an emblematic figure of gendered social life, its role shifting between visually pleasing piece of furniture, source of light entertainment, and expression of cultured upbringing. It performed this role unobtrusively, acting as a transparent mediator of social relations. To the composer of concert music it was, and sometimes still is, says Samuel Wilson, like the philosopher’s table: (...) “an assumed background on which one writes.” Like other instruments standard to Western art music, the piano was designed to facilitate the production of a consistent and refined timbre. More than most other such instruments, the piano also facilitated a kind of sonic neutrality. With its wide pitch range and smoothing of the percussive attack of its predecessor instruments, the piano presented composers with a technological means of approaching composition from a seemingly objective vantage point. It exemplified, in Heideggerian terms, the instrumentality of the instrument, serving as a mediator between idea and expression that apparently adds no character of its own. -/- This notion of the invisibility, or transparency, of the mediations that musical technologies such as the piano enact is one of my areas of concern here. So too is its inverse: when these mediations become visible or opaque. Transparency has been a topic of significant recent theoretical attention. Stefanos Geroulanos, for example, has detailed how the supposed transparency of intersubjective, epistemological, and social relations was a major point of critique in postwar French thought, where the supposition of transparency was taken to suppress how the world was “complex, layered, structured, filled with heterogeneity” – and, as I will stress here, contingency. The thinkers Geroulanos considers, from Jean-Paul Sartre through to Jean-François Lyotard, can be said to be united in their refusal to invisibilise mediatedness. From a starting point of conceiving of the piano as a technological artifact, and in particular from John Cage’s ‘prepared piano,’ I will explore how a similar concern has appeared in musical contexts, albeit not without the risk of reversion back into a logic of transparency. (shrink)
The study shows the existence of a broad conformity between Whitehead’s organismic cosmology and the contemporary theory of complex systems at a relevant level of abstraction. One of the most promising directions of educational transformation in the age of big data and artificial intelligence – personalized learning – is conceived as a system of systems and reveals its close congruence with a number of basic Whiteheadian concepts. A new functional structure of personalized learning systems is proposed, including all the core (...) elements of a full learning sequence. A multiobjective optimization problem, which is subject to strong constraints, uncertain outcomes, and continued development, is under consideration. It is argued that many of Whitehead’s concepts can be used constructively in designing and implementing advanced personalized learning systems after being adapted and expanded and account for the requirements of emerging big data and artificial intelligence research. Special attention is paid to the main factors that determine the multi-modality of personalized learning – learning styles, contexts, and didactic variability. The effecttiveness of personalized learning is a data-driven problem. (shrink)
Presenting an Open Peer Commentary on “In Maturana’s Wake: The Biology of Cognition’s Legacy and its Prospects” by Randall Whitaker, the article suggests that engaging with Maturana's biology of cognition in the context of design is a form of practice rather than application. Maturana's biology of cognition, the article argues, can be conceived of as initiating an educational process that supports agents to act “from within” rather than “from without.”.
Second-order cybernetics conceives of human beings as agents and participants in the making of worlds, embedded in the design process. This conception of designing as a practice of living with and in a world grants it both urgency and hope. -/- The paper proposes that design practitioners, in the widest sense, can learn from design cybernetics when conceiving new methodologies for the post-Anthropocene era. Further, it proposes that these methodologies’ development can take advantage of comparative studies of design cybernetics and (...) design strategies found in traditional Chinese culture. Significantly, Chinese landscape poetry and landscape painting, and, in relation to this, Chinese classical garden design, emphasise elements that are also present in cybernetics discourse: circularity, a floating observer, and the continuity of observer and environment. The paper proposes that these ideas create the necessary conditions for the development of design approaches that re-connect human beings to their environments and permit future agents to initiate change from within. It concludes with an example of a public art installation that implements these ideas. (shrink)
This article develops a theory of border subjectivity that considers the cybernetic role of narrative structures and mediation in political advocacy aimed at dreamers and DACA recipients. "Cybersujetos” are border subjects who are racialized by cybernetic systems and media narratives, but can resist control by repurposing cultural technologies. In assessing the limitations of journalism, literature, and film as outlets for political advocacy, this article finds that remediated representations of undocumented youth that attempt to expand their political agency can further alienate (...) them. Outdated stereotypes in representation are substituted with a proliferation of diverse but still racialized figures meant to demarcate "exceptional" candidates for naturalization, thus failing to challenge the normative parameters of citizenship itself and the militarized position of the US on the global stage. (shrink)
Norbert Wiener’s idea of “cybernetics” is linked to temporality as in a physical as in a philosophical sense. “Time orders” can be the slogan of that natural cybernetics of time: time orders by itself in its “screen” in virtue of being a well-ordering valid until the present moment and dividing any totality into two parts: the well-ordered of the past and the yet unordered of the future therefore sharing the common boundary of the present between them when the ordering is (...) taking place by choices. Thus, the quantity of information defined by units of choices, whether bits or qubits, describes that process of ordering happening in the present moment. The totality (which can be considered also as a particular or “regional” totality) turns out to be divided into two parts: the internality of the past and the externality of the future by the course of time, but identifiable to each other in virtue of scientific transcendentalism (e.g. mathematical, physical, and historical transcendentalism). A properly mathematical approach to the “totality and time” is introduced by the abstract concept of “evolutionary tree” (i.e. regardless of the specific nature of that to which refers: such as biological evolution, Feynman trajectories, social and historical development, etc.), Then, the other half of the future can be represented as a deformed mirror image of the evolutionary tree taken place already in the past: therefore the past and future part are seen to be unifiable as a mirrorly doubled evolutionary tree and thus representable as generalized Feynman trajectories. The formalism of the separable complex Hilbert space (respectively, the qubit Hilbert space) applied and further elaborated in quantum mechanics in order to uniform temporal and reversible, discrete and continuous processes is relevant. Then, the past and future parts of evolutionary tree would constitute a wave function (or even only a single qubit once the concept of actual infinity be involved to real processes). Each of both parts of it, i.e. either the future evolutionary tree or its deformed mirror image, would represented a “half of the whole”. The two halves can be considered as the two disjunctive states of any bit as two fundamentally inseparable (in virtue of quantum correlation) “halves” of any qubit. A few important corollaries exemplify that natural cybernetics of time. (shrink)
The digital revolution invites a reconsideration of the very essence of politics. How can we think about decision, control, and will at a time when technologies of automation are transforming every dimension of human life, from military combat to mental attention, from financial systems to the intimate lives of individuals? This article looks back to a moment in the 20th century when the concept of the political as an independent logic was developed, in a time when the boundaries and operations (...) of the classic state were in question. At the same moment, a whole new technological era was opened up with the emergence of intelligent machines and computers in the postwar cybernetic age. Technology, and cybernetics in particular, loomed large in Carl Schmitt’s articulation of the concept of the political, while the problem of radical open decision was at the heart of influential cybernetic approaches to politics. Linking these was the idea of entropic decay. Schmitt’s invocation of the theological concept of the Katechon, who restrains chaos in the time before Christ’s return, in fact exemplifies the new understandings of order in a cybernetic age facing new challenges of technology in a globalized condition. (shrink)
This article investigates religious ideals persistent in the datafication of information society. Its nodal point is Thomas Bayes, after whom Laplace names the primal probability algorithm. It reconsiders their mathematical innovations with Laplace's providential deism and Bayes' singular theological treatise. Conceptions of divine justice one finds among probability theorists play no small part in the algorithmic data-mining and microtargeting of Cambridge Analytica. Theological traces within mathematical computation are emphasized as the vantage over large numbers shifts to weights beyond enumeration in (...) probability theory. Collateral secularizations of predestination and theodicy emerge as probability optimizes into Bayesian prediction and machine learning. The paper revisits the semiotics and theism of Peirce and a given beyond the probable in Whitehead to recontextualize the critiques of providence by Agamben and Foucault. It reconsiders datafication problems alongside Nietzschean valuations. Religiosity likely remains encoded within the very algorithms presumed purified by technoscientific secularity or mathematical dispassion. (shrink)
In Recursivity and Contingency, Yuk Hui prompts a rigorous historical and philosophical analysis of today’s algorithmic culture. As evidenced by highspeed AI trading, predictive processing algorithms, elastic graph-bunching biometrics, Hebbian machine learning and thermographic drone warfare, we are privy to an epochal technological transition. As these technologies, stilted on inductive learning, demonstrate, we no longer occupy the moment of the ‘storage-and-retrieval’ static database but are increasingly engaged with technologies that are involved in the ‘manipulable arrangement’ (p204) of the indeterminable. It (...) is, in fact, extricating the indeterminable or the Inhuman and its cosmic anti-capitalist imperative that concerns the core of Hui’s project of technodiversity. (shrink)
Beginning with a survey of the shortcoming of theories of organology/media-as-externalization of mind/body—a philosophical-anthropological tradition that stretches from Plato through Ernst Kapp and finds its contemporary proponent in Bernard Stiegler—I propose that the phenomenological treatment of media as an outpouching and extension of mind qua intentionality is not sufficient to counter the ̳black-box‘ mystification of today‘s deep learning‘s algorithms. Focusing on a close study of Simondon‘s On the Existence of Technical Objectsand Individuation, I argue that the process-philosophical work of Gilbert (...) Simondon, with its critique of Norbert Wiener‘s first-order cybernetics, offers a precursor to the conception of second-order cybernetics (as endorsed byFrancisco Varela, Humberto Maturana, and Ricardo B. Uribe) and, specifically, its autopoietic treatment of information. It has been argued by those such as Frank Pasquale that neuro-inferential deep learning systems premised on predictive patterning, suchas AlphaGo Zero, have a veiled logic and, thus, are ̳black boxes‘. In detailing a philosophical-historical approach to demystify predictive patterning/processing and the logic of such deep learning algorithms, this paper attempts to shine a light on such systems and their inner workingsàla Simondon. (shrink)
This article situates the emergence of cybernetic concepts in postwar French thought within a longer history of struggles surrounding the technocratic reform of French universities, including Marcel Mauss’s failed efforts to establish a large-scale centre for social-scientific research with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the intellectual and administrative endeavours of Claude Lévi-Strauss during the 1940s and 1950s, and the rise of communications research in connection with the Centre d’Études des Communications de Masse (CECMAS). Although semioticians and poststructuralists used cybernetic discourse (...) critically and ironically, I argue that their embrace of a ‘textocratic’ perspective – that is, a theory of power and epistemology as tied to technical inscription – sustained elements of the technocratic reasoning dating back to these 1920s efforts to reform French universities. (shrink)
Cybernetics saturates the humanities. Norbert Wiener’s movement gave vocabulary and hardware to developments all across the early digital era, and still does so today to those who seek to interpret it. Even while the Macy Conferences were still taking place in the early 1950s, talk of feedback and information and pattern had spread to popular culture – and to Europe. The new science created a shared language and culture for surpassing political and intellectual ideas that could be relegated to a (...) pre-computing tradition, and it refracted or channelled currents developing in fields from manufacturing to human physiology. It produced conceptions of the political world, as well as new forms of historical consciousness. It offered frameworks for structuralist thought, but also for policies regarding manufacturing and technology, international relations, and governmental decision-making. But the rising sense of the breadth, importance, and even shock of cybernetics long remained understudied, even as its intellectual assemblages continued to, well, relay. In devices and the so-called ‘digital humanities’, a refracted legacy of cybernetics is also visible. From mainframes to category-frameworks, cybernetics is everywhere in our material and intellectual worlds, even as the name and its meaning have faded. To the extent that cybernetics permeates the human sciences and our culture at large, it remains opaque – an only partially visible legacy often deemed too complex to form a simple object of historical narrative. This special issue on cybernetics in the human sciences outlines the history and stakes of cybernetics, as well as the possibilities of returning to it today. (shrink)
This article questions the current vogue of Carl Schmitt among political theorists who read him as an antidote to the depoliticizing force of economics and technology in the age of neoliberalism and its algorithmic rationalities. It takes Schmitt’s sparse reflections about cybernetics and game theory as paradigmatic of the theoretical and political problems raised by any theory positing the autonomy of the political. It suggests that this ultimately misunderstands the role of cybernetic representations of political decision-making in shoring up in (...) the 1960s and 1970s the autonomy of the political that Schmitt so vehemently defended. (shrink)
Rather than assume a unitary cybernetics, I ask how its disunity mattered to the history of the human sciences in the United States from about 1940 to 1980. I compare the work of four prominent social scientists – Herbert Simon, George Miller, Karl Deutsch, and Talcott Parsons – who created cybernetic models in psychology, economics, political science, and sociology with the work of anthropologist Gregory Bateson, and relate their interpretations of cybernetics to those of such well-known cyberneticians as Norbert Wiener, (...) Warren McCulloch, W. Ross Ashby, and Heinz von Foerster. I argue that viewing cybernetics through the lens of disunity – asking what was at stake in choosing a specific cybernetic model – shows the complexity of the relationship between first-order cybernetics and the postwar human sciences, and helps us rethink the history of second-order cybernetics. (shrink)
This article examines the history of cybernetics in France, and the history of French cybernetics in the context of the emergent field of the history of cybernetics. Drawing upon an unfamiliar group of intellectuals and sources, I discuss the way in which French cybernetics was not primarily the hyper-philosophical strain we have come to associate with names such as Derrida and Lévi-Strauss, but an approach to thinking through political and social problems that some on the left would even deign to (...) call pragmatic. In particular, I follow a group of intellectuals known as the Groupe des dix, who, in the aftermath of the tumult of May ‘68, formed an interdisciplinary think tank to try to work out how to bridge the gap between science and society. In order to facilitate conversations between politicians, philosophers, biologists, and sociologists (to name just a few of the represented disciplines), the Groupe reached for a language that was supposed to be truly omnidisciplinary: that of cybernetics. And they did so in a country where cybernetics was not properly represented as a laboratory science. On this last point, this paper makes an addition to the history of cybernetics by offering a portrait not of cybernetics in action, but of cybernetics in vulgarization. Not that the Groupe would not make their own stamp on politics: Several of them still hold significant power in adjudicating the role of science and technology in the public sphere in the French state. (shrink)
Искусственный интеллект – последняя, хотя и иллюзорная надежда продажных и провалившихся режимов как на Западе, так и на Востоке остаться на плаву: ведь тонущий хватается и за соломинку. Но всё течёт и всё изменяется, и никаким деспотиям и деспотам не удастся остановить ход истории, как бы они этого не желали и тому не противились. Хотя у истории нет конца, но их история и история совершённых ими предательств уже закончилась. Plaudite, cives, plaudite, amici, finita est comoedia: „Рукоплещите, граждане, друзья, комедия окончена.“.
In 1955, Norbert Wiener suggested a sociological model according to which all forms of culture ultimately depended on the temporal coordination of human activities, in particular their synchronization. The basis for Wiener’s model was provided by his insights into the temporal structures of cerebral processes. This article reconstructs the historical context of Wiener’s ‘brain clock’ hypothesis, largely via his dialogues with John W. Stroud and other scholars working at the intersection of neurophysiology, experimental psychology, and electrical engineering. Since the 19th (...) century, physiologists and psychologists have been conducting experimental investigations into the relation between time and the brain. Using innovative instruments and technologies, Stroud rehearsed these experiments, in part without paying any attention at all to the experimental traditions involved. Against this background, this article argues that the novelty of Wiener’s model relies largely on his productive rephrasing of physiological and psychological findings that had been established long before the Second World War. (shrink)
The Soviet Union had a long and complex relationship with cybernetics, especially in the domain of planning. This article looks at Soviet postwar efforts to draw up plans for the rapidly developing, industrializing, and urbanizing Siberia, where cybernetic models were used to develop a vision of cybernetic socialism. Removed from Moscow bureaucracy and politics, the various planning institutes of the Siberian Academy of Sciences became a key frontier for exploring the potential of cybernetic thinking to offer a necessary corrective to (...) Soviet planning. Researchers there put forth a vision of a dynamic Soviet economy managed through partially automated subsystems, which, while decentralized, would grant the central planning apparatus flexibility, a capacity for emergence, and overall solvency in the face of increasingly complex factors that required consideration. (shrink)
In this work the doctrine of organicism will be addressed, as explained and seen mainly by Bertalanffy. We will study how this doctrine represents and embodies the ambiguity of Kantian teleology as a regulative principle, and how this same problem leads to consider a real problem as a knowledge problem. It will be concluded that organicism, conceived in this way, does not represent a true holism, but what we will call a syn-holism, a synthesis or assembly, and that to obtain (...) a true holism we must resort to the concept of true form. Finally, it will be established that since the fundamental characteristic of an organism is its development, a historical theory of the organism is required for which the concept of field can be useful and necessary. (shrink)
The chapter provides an overview on what it means to be in a world that is uncertain, e.g., how under conditions of limited understanding any activity is an activity that designs and constructs, and how designing objects, spaces, and situations relates to the (designed) meta-world of second-order cybernetics. Designers require a framework that is open, but one that supplies ethical guidance when ‘constructing’ something new. Relating second-order design thinking to insights in philosophy and aesthetics, the chapter argues that second-order cybernetics (...) provides a response to this ethical challenge and essentially it entails a poetics of designing. //// 'A Poetics of Designing' is part of the first book-length collection of texts in Design Cybernetics. It introduces the subject from the point of view of aesthetics. Importantly, the chapter argues that second-order cybernetics circumvents the necessity for a muse inspired artist or genius as a mediator between higher spirits and life, in favour of artists and designers who have true agency. //// Cybernetics is often associated with AI, which is, however, only one of the branches that developed on the basis of the interdisciplinary research begun in the 1940s and entitled cybernetics. I hope the chapter contributes to a better understanding of the second-order cybernetics that has been conceived in close relationship with art and design from the late 60s onwards. (shrink)
Description courte (Électre, 2019) : Une étude d'un des principaux axes de réflexion du philosophe des sciences et de la nature Raymond Ruyer (1902-1987). À la lumière des découvertes de l'embryogenèse et en s'appuyant par ailleurs sur la théorie de l'information, il proposa une interprétation des concepts unificateurs de la cybernétique mécaniste. -/- Short Descriptor (Electre 2019): A study of one of the main axes of reflection of the French philosopher of science and of nature Raymond Ruyer (1902-1987). Relying on (...) the discoveries about embryogenesis, and also with the use of information theory, Ruyer proposed an interpretation of the main unifying concepts of mechanistic cybernetics. -/- Cet ouvrage propose une étude fouillée d'un des principaux axes de réflexion du philosophe des sciences et de la nature français Raymond Ruyer (1902–1987) : la cybernétique. Après avoir proposé une philosophie structuraliste, Ruyer la modifia à la lumière des découvertes de l'embryogenèse, puis il proposa une interprétation des concepts unificateurs de la cybernétique mécaniste. Réfléchissant sur cette dernière et sur la théorie de l'information, en particulier sur l'origine de l'information, il défendit que cette cybernétique n'était qu'une lecture inversée de la vraie cybernétique, qui nous donnerait de lire dans l'expérience même les traces du pouvoir morphogénétique, appréhendé comme un champ axiologique. Dans un texte résumant son propre parcours, Ruyer affirma finalement que la critique de la théorie de l'information « peut donner […] l'espoir d'aboutir à quelque chose comme une nouvelle théologie. » Les idées directrices de Ruyer sont tout particulièrement contextualisées ici à partir de la question du développement des formes en biologie, et de celles de la génétique, de la genèse stochastique de l'ordre, et de l'identification mentale ou physique de l'information. Il se termine en départageant ce qui est théologique et axiologique dans ce projet de métaphysique qui, bien que resté inachevé, n'en représente pas moins le plus impressionnant conçu en France au siècle dernier. – This book offers an in-depth study of one of the main axes in the reflection of French philosopher of science and nature Raymond Ruyer. In a text summarising his own development, Ruyer stated about the philosophical critique of information theory that it "is what can give the most long-lasting hope of getting to something like a new theology." After propounding a structuralist philosophy, and distinguishing between form and structure, to then modify it in the light of discoveries in embryogenesis, Ruyer offered a re-evaluation of the unifying concepts of mechanistic cybernetics. Thinking about it and about information theory, he defended the idea that this cybernetics was in reality an inverted reading of the real one, which would allow us to read in experience itself traces of the morphogenetic power, apprehended as the axiological field. On some transversal points, the development of forms in biology and genetics, the stochastic genesis of order, the identification of information with either psychological and mental, or physical reality, behaviour, and the access to meaning, this work exposes the main ideas of Ruyer while situating them in the context of the breadth of others' contributions. It ends by determining what is theological and axiological in this project for a metaphysics which, although unfinished, is nevertheless the most impressive effort done in France in the last century. – Available on i6doc dot com (ISBN 978-2-930517-56-8 ; pdf 978-2-930517-57-5). (shrink)
The article introduces the problematics of the classical two-valued logic on which Western thought is generally based, outlining that under the conditions of its logical assumptions the subject I is situated in a world that it cannot address. In this context, the article outlines a short history of cybernetics and the shift from first- to second-order cybernetics. The basic principles of Gordon Pask’s 1976 Conversation Theory are introduced. It is argued that this second-order theory grants agency to others through a (...) re-conception of living beings as You logically transcending the I. The key principles of Conversation Theory are set in relation to the poetic forms of discourse that played a key role in art as well as philosophical thinking in China in the past. Second-order thinking, the article argues, is essentially poetic. It foregoes prediction in favour of the potentiality of encountering tomorrow’s delights. (shrink)
Perceptual Control Theory (PCT), pioneered by the American systems scientist, physicist and psychologist W. Powis, advanced N. Wiener's control theory in the following three ways: (1) It combined control theory with theoretical biology, considered control mechanisms as the essence of life, and proposed a more complete model of control of life. (2) It developed the concept of purposiveness in control systems, created the scientific concept of baseline signal or baseline information, and established the purposive formulation of cybernetics. It transforms the (...) ancient concept of purposivity into a concept of modern science and modern philosophy. (3) It proposes a multi-level control theory model and establishes a new discipline of cybernetic psychology, which is different from both behaviorist psychology and psychoanalysis. Because of this, the authors of this paper first provide a comprehensive introduction to this new theory. This theory is then applied to some extended studies of certain valueological, epistemological, and philosophical issues of technology. (shrink)
This article argues that the mid-1960s saw a dramatic shift in how ‘brainwashing’ was popularly imagined, reflecting Anglo-American developments in the sciences of mind as well as shifts in mass media culture. The 1965 British film The Ipcress File provides a rich case for exploring these interconnections between mind control, mind science and media, as it exemplifies the era’s innovations for depicting ‘brainwashing’ on screen: the film’s protagonist is subjected to flashing lights and electronic music, pulsating to the ‘rhythm of (...) brainwaves’. This article describes the making of The Ipcress File’s brainwashing sequence and shows how its quest for cinematic spectacle drew on developments in cybernetic science, multimedia design and modernist architecture. I argue that often interposed between the disparate endeavours of 1960s mind control, psychological science and media was a vision of the human mind as a ‘cybernetic spectator’: a subject who scrutinizes how media and other demands on her sensory perception can affect consciousness, and seeks to consciously participate in this mental conditioning and guide its effects. (shrink)
La educación en el periodo digital en el que vivimos está alcanzando retos nunca antes vistos, precedidos por fenómenos que involucran no solamente a unidades sociales tradicionales, sino también a las nuevas comunidades virtuales; innovar es difícil, es un reto, no obstante, hay que pensar en nuevos métodos de enseñanza que impacten a la actual generación de estudiantes, los mismos que llegan con nuevas necesidades y expectativas. La construcción del conocimiento desde el sujeto y el mundo virtual que lo rodea, (...) establece la base para el desarrollo de un nuevo modelo de enseñanza, donde el salón de clase es la representación particular de un nuevo ecosistema físico-cibernético compuesto por las tres grandes dimensiones que forman parte de esta nueva convergencia tecno-social (humano – información – maquina); permitiendo una interrelación entre el estudiante, la información, la máquina y el profesor; usando métodos Biocibernéticos de influencia, control y replica, mediante el vector masivo de impacto (i); además, el desarrollo de nuevas estrategias asistidas por la cibernética y la actualización del contenido académico acorde al nuevo ambiente de enseñanza. De ahí la importancia de este estudio, el cual nos lleva a la necesidad de un nuevo modelo transformador de instrucción académica, el cual no se base en un conglomerado de herramientas tecnológicas, más establezca un nuevo modelo educativo y transformador, basado en el “pensamiento colaborativo” y la ubicuidad de la información, estableciendo así la relación entre el sujeto y objeto de estudio, permitiéndonos de esta manera establecer el nuevo paradigma educativo Biocibernético en el periodo digital. (shrink)
The impact and relationship between technologies and society establish the development of certain adaptive models, based on coexistence (Human-information-Machine), as well as several behavioral and cognitive changes of the human being, and new models of influence and social control through ubiquitous communication. which is the basis of a new social units called "virtual communities". The rupture of social norms that accompanies rapid social change, and subsequently the appearance of sub-cultural values establishes gaining status of participation in criminal activities, the components (...) of social unites in general conform to social norms by social ties. the individuals or groups see themselves unfairly disadvantaged compared to other similar individuals, within physical-cybernetic ecosystem environment, which supports the interconnection and transformation of social phenomenon of digital dimension, with several implications in cyber hate crime. Thereby establishing the theoretical basis for further research looking which social vulnerability, identify the trajectory of the massive vector of impact "Information", which is a component of social cybernetics from the following three dimensions: (P) Propagation - (R) Replica - (C) Control called the "Cyber Hate Crime Pathway" that links hate crimes within the cyber-physical ecosystem, and where different types of social vulnerability are established. This study incorporates an epistemology approach of the relation between social and cybernetic theories, that will allow establishing a scientific base for future research in the field of new phenomena that will continue to appear within the Physical-Cybernetic ecosystem. It will also allow the contributions and implications to science derived from the product of this research establish a global holistic field applied to criminal justice system, academic and the new entities of social cybernetic. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Cybernetic Foundations for Psychology” by Bernard Scott. Upshot: Scott’s proposal is well-founded and opens interesting possibilities. We selected some critical aspects of his argumentation and discuss them in the context of the constructivist perspective. We highlight as Scott’s “blind spot” his statement - presented without further argument - of the need for a conceptual and theoretical unification of psychology from the perspective of second-order cybernetics. We find this especially worrisome as it is based on (...) only one version of cybernetics. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Second-Order Cybernetics as a Fundamental Revolution in Science” by Stuart A. Umpleby. Upshot: Connecting Umpleby’s article with Piaget and García’s genetic epistemology, I will argue that the revolution the former discerns is more comprehensive. Additionally, since the latter differ from cybernetic and radical traditions in their philosophical assumptions about society and its conditioning on knowledge, I will suggest that these assumptions must be considered to explain each constructivist program’s achievements and challenges.
Open peer commentary on the article “Second-Order Cybernetics as a Fundamental Revolution in Science” by Stuart A. Umpleby. Upshot: While I agree with most of the thrust of second-order cybernetics, I find the dichotomy of first- vs. second-order cybernetics conceptually and historically problematic because it implicitly conflates the cybernetics of nonhuman systems with realist conceptions of observer-free science. The dichotomy may be divisive and unhealthy for cybernetics by driving natural scientists and engineers out of the movement, thereby undermining the universality (...) of its principles. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Design Research as a Variety of Second-Order Cybernetic Practice” by Ben Sweeting. Upshot: It is suggested that the main arguments of the target article could be constructed in an easier way and would become even more compelling if a radical consideration of the systemic nature of design were taken into account.
This article gives a broad overview of the ASC's activities between 2009 and 2014, focusing on key events and initiatives of the ASC Executive Board, with a focus on ASC President Ranulph Glanville's vision for the ASC during this period, based on the author's own memories as well as public and private records. The article presents Ranulph Glanville's own terms for judging the success of the ASC's 2009-2014 period, recalls key initiatives, and concludes with a list of thoughts.
Open peer commentary on the article “Second-Order Cybernetics as a Fundamental Revolution in Science” by Stuart A. Umpleby. Upshot: Theory without a strong methodology is stranded in philosophy. Principles devolved from theory can be applied to situations in the arena of practice in many ways; however, a continually improving science must refine its theories with feedback from data drawn from the use of continually improving sets of codified methodologies. Second-order cybernetics is contingent upon sense-making within sapient systems. A perspective on (...) cognitive science points toward the requirements for an enabling sense-making methodology for second-order cybernetic science. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Design Research as a Variety of Second-Order Cybernetic Practice” by Ben Sweeting. Upshot: Based on Sweeting’s central question of what design can bring to cybernetics, this commentary extends and adds further depth to the target article. Aspects discussed include the nature of practice in relation to design, the introduction of designerly ways of acting and thinking through acting to cybernetics, and the re-introduction of material experimentation typical of early cybernetics.
Context: Second-order cybernetics and its implications have been understood within the cybernetics community for some time. These implications are important for understanding the structure of scientific endeavor, and for researchers in other fields to see the reflexive nature of scientific research. This article is about the role of context in the creation and exploration of our experience. Problem: The purpose of this article is to point out the fundamental nature of the circularity in cybernetics and in scientific work in general. (...) I give a point of view on the nature of objective knowledge by placing it in the context of reflexivity and eigenform. Method: The approach to the topic is based on logical analysis of the nature of circularity. Mathematics and cybernetics are both fundamentally concerned with the structure of distinctions, but there can be no definition of a distinction without circularity, since such a definition would itself be a distinction. The article proceeds by explicating the structure of reflexive domains D where the transformations of the domain are in one-to-one correspondence with the domain itself. Results: I show that every element of a reflexive domain has a fixed point. This means that eigenforms arise naturally in reflexive domains. Furthermore, a reflexive domain is itself an eigenform (at a higher level. This supports the context of a second-order science that would study domains of science as part of a larger cybernetic landscape. Implications: The value of the article is in its concise reformulation of the scientific endeavor as a search for eigenforms in reflexive domains. This new view of science is promising in that it includes the former worlds of apparent objectivity and it embraces those newer worlds of science where the theories and theorists become active participants in the ongoing process of creating knowledge. Constructivist content: I argue that the perspective of reflexive domains constitutes a new way to think about the practice of science, with observers deeply imbedded, and objectivity understood as the mutual search for eigenforms. (shrink)
Upshot: Kline focuses on the aspects of American cybernetics that gave rise to the narrative of the information age and the development of its leading technologies. He primarily follows the first-order perspective, which may be disappointing for constructivists. However, the book manages to beautifully capture the vibrant, magnetic moments of early cybernetics at a time when what would become a great divide among theorists was still only a little crack. The narrative tracks the following boundary work, contributed from all sides, (...) making the book a valuable manual on how to fail to construct a trans-disciplinary bridge. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Second-Order Cybernetics as a Fundamental Revolution in Science” by Stuart A. Umpleby. Upshot: This commentary looks at the parallel developments in contiguous fields that include and encourage multiple viewpoints and the validity of multiple positions. I contend that necessity will overcome the resistance to disturbing the status quo of power structures when the stakes become high enough.
We overview the main historical and technological elements characterising the rise, the fall and the recent renaissance of the cognitive approaches to Artificial Intelligence and provide some insights and suggestions about the future directions and challenges that, in our opinion, this discipline needs to face in the next years.
Open peer commentary on the article “Second-Order Cybernetics as a Fundamental Revolution in Science” by Stuart A. Umpleby. Upshot: Buried in the jargon of constructivism and cybernetics lies the essence of what second-order cybernetics can do for its practitioners. The labels and names get in the way; to move forward we must refocus on that essence - which is to ask always how context matters.
Open peer commentary on the article ““Black Box” Theatre: Second-Order Cybernetics and Naturalism in Rehearsal and Performance” by Tom Scholte. Upshot: Scholte’s attempt to link theatre studies with cybernetics faces at least two problems: historically, there could not have been any direct influence between these two fields; and conceptually, do we need second-order cybernetics, and the concept of the black box in particular, to account for the Stanislavski system?
Context: Although second-order cybernetics was proposed as a new way of cybernetic investigations around 1970, its general status and its modus operandi are still far from obvious. Problem: We want to provide a new perspective on the scope and the currently available potential of second-order cybernetics within today’s science landscapes. Method: We invited a group of scholars who have produced foundational work on second-order cybernetics in recent years, and organized an open call for new approaches to second-order cybernetics. The accepted (...) contributions are discussed and mapped. We also investigate the relations between second-order cybernetics and second-order science. Results: We present a coherent outlook on the scope of second-order cybernetics today, identify a general methodology of science and show that second-order cybernetics can be used in a large number of disciplines that go well beyond purely scientific domains. These results are based on a new epistemic mode “from within,” which can be traced back directly to von Foerster. We also arrived at the conclusion that from its early years onwards second-order cybernetics was developed in two different ways, so that second-order cybernetics and second-order science operate in different domains. Implications: Both the coherent perspective of the scope of second-order cybernetics with a new five-part agenda and the outline for a general methodology of science based on a new epistemic mode that was created within and for second-order cybernetics demonstrate the growing importance of reflexivity in science, which, so far, has not been widely recognized. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article ““Black Box” Theatre: Second-Order Cybernetics and Naturalism in Rehearsal and Performance” by Tom Scholte. Upshot: Scholte proposes using the theatre as a laboratory for experimenting with ideas in second-order cybernetics, adding to the repertoire of approaches for advancing this way of thinking. Second-order cybernetics, as art, science and craft, raises questions about the forms of experimentation most useful in such a laboratory. Theatre provides an opportunity to “play” with the dynamics of human interactions and (...) relations and possibly demonstrate value in second-order cybernetic thinking. (shrink)
El humanismo tradicional del siglo XX, inspirado por la cultura del libro, se distanció sistemáticamente de la nueva sociedad de la información digital; el Internet y las herramientas de procesamiento de información revolucionaron el mundo, la sociedad en el transcurso de este periodo desarrolló ciertas características adaptativas, basadas en la convivencia (Humano – Maquina), esta transformación establece su base en el impacto de tres segmentos tecnológicos: Los dispositivos, las aplicaciones y la infraestructura de comunicación social, las cuales están envueltas en (...) diversos cambios físicos, conductuales y cognitivos del ser humano; así como el surgimiento de nuevos modelos de influencia y control social, mediante la nueva comunicación ubicua; no obstante en este nuevo proceso de convivencia se desarrollan nuevos modelos como el “pensamiento colaborativo” y el “InfoSharing”; que gestionan la información social bajo tres dimensiones ontológicas Humano (h) – Información (i) – Maquina (m), el cual es la base de un nuevo ecosistema físico-cibernético, donde coexisten y se desarrollan nuevas unidades sociales llamadas “Comunidades virtuales”. Esta nueva infraestructura de comunicación y gestión social de información a dado descubierto áreas de vulnerabilidad denominada “Perspectiva social del riesgo”, impactando a todas las unidades sociales por medio del vector masivo de impacto (i); El entorno virtual “H + i + M”; y sus componentes, así como el ciclo de vida de la gestión de información social nos permite entender la trayectoria de la integración “Tecno – Social”, y estableciendo de la nueva cibernética, dentro de la convergencia de la tecnología con la sociedad y su nuevos retos de convivencia, encaminados en una nueva visión holística y no pragmática, ya que el componente humano (h) en este entorno virtual es el precursor del futuro y necesita ser estudiado no como una aplicación, sino como el eje de una nueva sociedad. (shrink)