Serial Experiments Cybernetics Layer 06: KIDS

“I never meant to put the children in any danger.” – Dr. Hodgeson If I were to restrict this series to cyberneticians alone, this week would cover William Grey Walter. He was the first to discover and categorize brain waves, and he developed robots in the 1940s known as “turtles” complete with “artificial neurons”. However,…

Feminism: A Hill To Die On

With the recent revelations that the first openly bisexual Californian in Congress has resigned due to allegations of sexual misconduct, I reflect on the fact that Adam and Eve, the first people ever, were the ones who fell. She was the first openly bi Californian in Congress, and Katie Hill had to leave office due…

Serial Experiments Cybernetics Layer 05: von Foerster

“Objectivity is the delusion that observations could be made without an observer.” – von Foerster Heinz von Foerster was born in Vienna in 1911. Two of his grandfathers (Emil and Ludwig) were architects, and Ludwig Wittgenstein was an uncle and frequent visitor. Heinz himself often quoted the “Tractatus” at age 11. Von Foerster remained in…

Serial Experiments Cybernetics Layer 04: McCulloch

“From then on Mechanism and Teleology held no contradiction. They have in common the dialectical argument with its logic of becoming which is necessary for cybernetics, and they complement each other from the sides of matter, or body, and form, or mind.” – McCulloch Beer considered Wiener, Ashby, and Warren McCulloch to be the three…

Serial Experiments Cybernetics Layer 03: Ashby

“Only variety can absorb variety.” – Ashby The nexus between cybernetics and psychiatry runs deep. Indeed, R. D. Laing used a quote from Wiener’s “The Human Use of Human Beings” as an epigraph for part of the last chapter in “The Divided Self“. One of the progenitors of the science, who gets far less credit…

Serial Experiments Cybernetics Layer 02: Beer

“I prefer to call it the science of effective organization.” – Stafford Beer I would like to note about many of the early cyberneticians that these were men who still had functioning minds, hearts, and endocrine systems. Stafford Beer is a good example. He began attending University College London at the age of 16, before…

Serial Experiments Cybernetics Layer 01: Wiener

“Cybernetics [is] control and communication in the animal and the machine.” – Norbert Wiener This is the first in what will be a series on cybernetics. The esteemed Ethnarch provided a good primer on Cybernetics in the 128th episode of the Myth of the 20 Century podcast, which was about speculative fiction. He identified Wiener…