"Autopoiesis is the process that produces and reproduces systems. An autopoietic system autonomously produces and reproduces the element of which it consists (Kneer & Nassehi 1997 p. 63). In other words, the system does not exchange input and output with its environment as linear systems would." (http://dotjonas.net/wordpress/?page_id=7)
Jonas Andersen: Technological systems are causal and linear, social systems are dynamic and autopoietic.
"This means that a medium such as speech organs, air, and hearing, telephones, and the Internet cannot be classified as ‘dynamic’ in itself. What may or may not be dynamic is the way we use the media. So, there is a basic difference between linear input-output based systems and dynamic autopoietic systems. The linear systems, Luhmann refers to as autarchic (Luhmann 1984 p. 185, 473). This is the fundamental difference between technological and social systems. But if social systems are operationally closed, and do not have input-output interaction with its environment, how do they interact with anything? The answer is cybernetics. Or in other words: they don’t. Not at the cybernetic level of the system itself, anyway. Interaction between two autopoietic (psychic, social, or societal) systems will form another autopoietic system of a higher cybernetic order. For instance, interaction between two psychic systems will inevitably happen through communication. This will result in the emergence of a social system in the environment of the two psychic systems. The social system is therefore a system of a higher cybernetic level than the psychic subsystems." (http://dotjonas.net/wordpress/?page_id=7)