INLS777-001 Fall 2022

Perspectives on information, technology and people

15 November 2022  1100-1215

Cybernetics - a step back in time, or is it?

Let's begin by learning something we didn't know we didn't know.

① info world

We will start each session with one of us standing before the assembled group and introducing us to an "information world" that they are familiar with, but one that may well be new to the rest of us.

This will be voluntary: there will be no one necessarily assigned to do this weekly, though we hope everyone would want to share of themselves by taking advantage of the opportunity.

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② watch presenter in Sakai calendar

The Australian National University in Canberra has created a new School of Cybernetics with a specific mission:

... to build a new branch of engineering to take AI-enabled cyber-physical systems to scale and to create a new generation of practitioners with the skills and knowledge we need to help shape this future safely, sustainably and responsibly.

How do they describe "Cybernetics"?

We may compare this idea with the new UNC School of Data Science and Society.

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③ read presenter in Sakai calendar

But to have more of a background, read this.


Gleick, J. (2011). The information: A history, a theory, a flood.
New York, NY: Pantheon Books.

  1. read chapter chapter 8, The informational turn. As you read it, think about:
    p. 242 - Is information about communication
    p. 263 - or is it a hard core branch of mathematics
    pp. 260-261 - what is the connection between "the magical number seven" and "bits"?

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④ ponder presenter in Sakai calendar

We might want to read the original thinking behind the concept, but it is dense.

Glance over the discussion from the middle of page 10 through the end of page 29.

Wiener, N. (1961). Cybernetics: Or, Control and communication in the animal and the machine. New York: M.I.T. Press.

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