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Cybernetics and Systems Theory. How machines can “behave” and “evolve”. Cybernetics. First order cybernetics: 1940’s-60’s Concepts: homeostasis, control of the observed mechanism, self-steering, information vs. noise Second order cybernetics: late 60’s-80’s

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cybernetics and systems theory

Cybernetics and Systems Theory

How machines can “behave” and “evolve”

cybernetics
Cybernetics
  • First order cybernetics: 1940’s-60’s
  • Concepts: homeostasis, control of the observed mechanism, self-steering, information vs. noise
  • Second order cybernetics: late 60’s-80’s
  • Concepts: stability (vs. homeostasis), interaction with (vs. control of) mechanism, observer’s implication in the system
example
example
  • A “‘first-order’ cyberneticist, will study a system as if it were a passive, objectively given ‘thing’, that can be freely observed, manipulated, and taken apart. A second-order cyberneticist working with an organism or social system, on the other hand, recognizes that system as an agent in its own right, interacting with another agent, the observer. As quantum mechanics has taught us, observer and observed cannot be separated, and the result of observations will depend on their interaction. The observer too is a cybernetic system, trying to construct a model of another cybernetic system” (“Second-Order Cybernetics,” Principia Cybernetica Webhttp://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/SECORCYB.html accessed 19 Feb., 2009)
important reading
Important reading
  • Wiener’s ideas
  • What is Cybernetics and systems theory?
how is this important to us
How is this important to us?
  • It allows us to think about how artificial humans think and communicate (information vs. noise)
  • Allows us to think about how they operate: homeostasis, stabilizing behavior, information feedback loops, entropy of systems and information, boundaries of systems and definitions of systems (observer/observed, interactivity, controlled vs. controller?)
proponents and opponents of ai progress
Proponents and opponents of AI progress
  • Bill Joy’s article is the best to read first. Esp. the 1st seven graphs of p. 3, and also last graph p.4, 4th-6th graphs p.5
  • Hayles’ first page and bottom of p. 2 important for her objections to AI and definition of “posthuman” merging of artificial and human.
  • Moravec’s ideas are in the 8th paragraph of the interview with him, and in Hayles, p.1.
slide7
more
  • Fourth and third-to-last graphs in Mazlish’s article important to read, re: humans’ uncanny and negative feelings about artificial humans.