The author has compiled explanations for 3,800 terms relevant to systems concepts and models, and cybernetics. Until retiring his career was with the Belgian Foreign Service (he now lives in Argentina), but he has been involved with the study of systems since the early 1950s.
The subject “Systems sciences and cybernetics” is the outcome of the convergence of a number of trends in a larger current of thought devoted to the growing complexity of (primarily social) objects and arising in response to the need for globalized treatment of such objects. This has been magnified by the proliferation and publication of all manner of quantitative scientific data on such objects, advances in the theories on their inter-relations, the enormous computational capacity provided by IT hardware and software and the critical revisiting of subject-object interaction, not to mention the urgent need to control the efficiency of complex systems, where “efficiency” is understood to mean the ability to find a solution to many social problems, including those posed on a planetary scale. The result has been the forging of a new, academically consolidated scientific trend going by the name of Systems Theory and Cybernetics, with a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary focus and therefore apt for understanding realities still regarded to be inescapably chaotic. This subject entry is subdivided into four sections. The first, an introduction to systemic theories, addresses the historic development of the most commonly used systemic approaches, from new concepts such as the so-called “geometry of thinking” or the systemic treatment of “non-systemic identities” to the taxonomic, entropic, axiological and ethical problems deriving from a general “systemic-cybernetic” conceit. Hence, the focus in this section is on the historic and philosophical aspects of the subject. Moreover, it may be asserted today that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, problems, in particular problems deriving from human interaction but in general any problem regardless of its nature, must be posed from a systemic perspective, for otherwise the obstacles to their solution are insurmountable. Reaching such a perspective requires taking at least the following well-known steps: a) statement of the problem from the determinant variables or phenomena; b) adoption of theoretical models showing the interrelationships among such variables; c) use of the maximum amount of – wherever possible quantitative – information available on each; d) placement of the set of variables in an environment that inevitably pre-determines the problem. That epistemology would explain the substantial development of the systemic-cybernetic approach in recent decades. The articles in the second section deal in particular with the different methodological approaches developed when confronting real problems, from issues that affect humanity as a whole to minor but specific questions arising in human organizations. Certain sub-themes are discussed by the various authors – always from a didactic vantage –, including: problem discovery and diagnosis and development of the respective critical theory; the design of ad hoc strategies and methodologies; the implementation of both qualitative (soft system methodologies) and formal and quantitative (such as the “General System Problem Solver” or the “axiological-operational” perspective) approaches; cross-disciplinary integration; and suitable methods for broaching psychological, cultural and socio-political dynamisms. The third section is devoted to cybernetics in the present dual meaning of the term: on the one hand, control of the effectiveness of communication and actions, and on the other, the processes of self-production of knowledge through reflection and the relationship between the observing subject and the observed object when the latter is also observer and the former observed. Known as “second order cybernetics”, this provides an avenue for rethinking the validity of knowledge, such as for instance when viewed through what is known as “bipolar feedback”: processes through which interactions create novelty, complexity and diversity. Finally, the fourth section centres around artificial and computational intelligence, addressing sub-themes such as “neural networks”, the “simulated annealing” that ranges from statistical thermodynamics to combinatory problem-solving, such as in the explanation of the role of adaptive systems, or when discussing the relationship between biological and computational intelligence.
This e-book is a compilation of selected papers on the theme of "Systems, cybernetics and innovation" from the 13th International Congress of the World Organization of Systems and Cybernetics (WOSC), Slovenia, July 2005 and is guest edited by Professor Matjaz Mulej, University of Maribor. The articles present research and development in a number of areas: Artificial-Natural Dualism; Economic Systems; Education Systems; Engineering and Information Systems; Grey Systems; Management Systems; Mathematical Systems; Nature Systems; Tourism Cybernetics; Viable Organizations; and World Education Syste
Systems, cybernetics, control, and automation (SCCA)are four interrelated and overlapping scientific and technological fields that have contributed substantially to the development, growth, and progress of human society. A large number of models, methods, and tools were developed that assure high efficiency of SCCA applied to practical situations. The real-life applications of SCCA encompass a wide range of man-made or biological systems, including transportations, power generation, chemical industry, robotics, manufacturing, cybernetics organisms (cyborgs), aviation, economic systems, enterprise, systems, medical/health systems, environmental applications, and so on. The SCCA fields exhibit strong influences on society and rise, during their use and application, many ethical concerns and dilemmas. This book provides a consolidated and concise overview of SCCA, in a single volume for the first time, focusing on ontological, epistemological, social impact, ethical, and general philosophical issues. It is appropriate for use in engineering courses as a convenient tutorial source providing fundamental conceptual and educational material on these issues, or for independent reading by students and scientists.Included in the book is:• Background material on philosophy and systems theory• Major ontological, epistemological, societal and ethical/philosophical aspects of the four fields that are considered in the book• Over 400 references and a list of 130 additional books in the relevant fields • Over 100 colored photos and 70 line figures that illustrate the text
Design Cybernetics: Navigating the New Design cybernetics offers a way of looking at ourselves – curious, creative, and ethical humans – as self-organising systems that negotiate their own goals in open-ended explorations of the previously unknown. It is a theory of and for epistemic practices (learning, designing, researching) that is deeply committed to the autonomy of others and hence offers no prescriptive methodology. Design cybernetics describes design practice as inextricable from conversation – a way of enquiring, developing shared understanding and reaching the new that harnesses reliable control as well as error and serendipity. Recognising circular causality, observer-dependency and non-determinability, design cybernetics extends beyond tenets of scientific research into the creative, ethical and aesthetic domain. From this perspective, design is not an ill-conceived subset of scientific research. Instead, scientific research emerges as a particularly restricted subset of the broader human activity of design. This volume offers a cross-section of design cybernetic theory and practice with contributions ranging across architecture, interior lighting studies, product design, embedded systems, design pedagogy, design theory, social transformation design, research epistemology, art and poetics, as well as theatre and acting. Addressing designers, design educators and researchers interested in a rigorous, practice-based epistemology, it establishes design cybernetics as a foundational perspective of design research. “This is a conceptually elegant, well structured, and comprehensive presentation of design cybernetics. It fills a gap in the literature of the field.” Ken Friedman, Chair Professor, Tongji University “This book offers a valuable and timely introduction to second-order cybernetics as society grapples with complex issues like climate change and rising inequality.” Joichi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab
Conversations were introduced by Bela H. Banathy around 1980 as an alternative to the classical conferences which usually consist only of presentation of streamlined papers and short question slots. In a Conversation a small group of systems scientists and practitioners meets for several days to discuss in a self-guided way a topic of scientific and social importance. The overarching theme for the IFSR Conversation 2016 was "Systems Literacy". It aims at developing systemic "principles" or "big ideas" as orienting guidelines for application of systems science in across disciplines and provide for appropriate dissemination and world wide acceptance. Systems Literacy could be defined as understanding your model or models of Systems, how it is the same and different from others' models of Systems, and how our individual and collective actions influence Systems behaviors and how Systems behaviors influence us. An agreed definition will be an outcome of the Systems Literacy Initiative process. The Systems Literacy Initiative is a process of an ongoing international, coordinated effort to create a greater awareness and understanding about "Systems" and to develop a comprehensive set of big ideas, supporting concepts and learning progressions that have broad agreement. As team leaders developed their topics with their teams, they kept a focal theme of Systems Literacy in mind. The intention was that participants in the Conversation integrate the work of the teams into a body of knowledge to be developed into modes for educating those new to systems thinking, the systems sciences, and systems research, as a coordinated and coherent whole system initiative to define and achieve Systems Literacy. 24 practitioners from twelve countries took part in this five-day cooperative effort. Three teams approached Systems Literature from different viewpoints: Team 1: Application of Boulding's Skeleton of Science to Inform Transdisciplinarity, Team 2: Unity in Diversity - Making the Implicit Explicit, and Team 3: Exploring the Relationship of Systems Research to Systems Literacy. The outcome of this Conversation, while at a high conceptual level, also supports and encourages further practical applications through individual member activities. The outcome of the conversation is summarized in three overview papers and six team reports. A short description of the IFSR's activities completes the proceedings.