Cybernetics Movement

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Christophe Rigon:

(on 'The fruits of the cybernetics movement')

"The cybernetics phase of CS produced an amazing array of concrete results, apart from its long-term (often underground) influence.

Some of these are:

  • the use of mathematical logic to understand the operation of the nervous system;
  • the invention of information processing machines (as digital computers), thus laying the basis for artificial intelligence;
  • the establishment of the meta-discipline of system theory, which has had an imprint in many branches of science, such as engineering (system 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.

The list is impressive: we tend to consider many of these notions and tools as an integral part of our lives. Yet they were all inexistent before this formative decade, and they were all produced by intense exchange among people of widely different backgrounds: a uniquely successful interdisciplinary effort.“