Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/Cybernetics: A grand and ambitious theory

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I had heard the term cybernetics before, but really didn’t know what it meant until this week. The term “cybernetics” comes from Greek and means steering or navigating (Pangaro, 2012). As I understand cybernetics, its goal is to examine and understand complex systems by seeking to learn how systems regulate and stabilize themselves to ensure their survival. Cybernetics asserts that systems achieve homeostasis and their survival by using feedback to influence the system to move (or steer) toward the desired result.

According to Lucas, most systems treated in cybernetics are deterministic, meaning no randomness occurs in creating future system conditions (2004). For me, however, the stochastic systems that Lucas speculates about seem far more interesting and intriguing. Stochastic systems are unpredictable or random, which as you might expect, produce probabilistic system states and is useful in Game Theory. Cybernetics is also useful in studying large systems that are complex and multidisciplinary. For example, unlike single system variables, such as economics or politics, cybernetics searches to understand large systems where these single variables interact. This goal is very close to understanding the systems that make up human existence, which is why I find cybernetics so compelling. It’s a grand and ambitious theory that seeks to help humans control their own destinies by replacing deterministic methods with multidimensional ones that emphasize complex thinking and collaboration, rather than control.

Works Cited

Lucas, C. (2004). Cybernetics and Stochastic Systems. Retrieved from http://www.calresco.org/lucas/systems.htm

Pangaro, P. (2012). What is Cybernetics? Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/41776276