"When is Cybernetics?"
An illuminating introduction to an oft-invoked
but arcane field
Speaker: Paul Pangaro
Wednesday 11 October 95
@Cybersmith in Harvard Square
42 Church Street, Cambridge MA
4 - 5 pm
Information about the Society & Meetings: 617-489-9500
Information about Cybersmith:
Cybernetics is not the same as robotics or atificial intelligence
and has nothing to do with freezing dead people.
Emerging from control theory and the feeling that trans-disciplinary
enquiry was critical, the field of cybernetics surged in the
1940s. By 1960 it had become a political no-no, coincidentally
the same period that it exploded into new domains. Today the
word has returned to common use, but its meaning and importance
are not understood. Cybernetics directly influences revolutionary
work in fields such as biology, cognitive science, family therapy,
machine intelligence, and management.
But what is it? Primarily an epistemological stance, cybernetics
is informally characterized by the speaker as "the science
of describing"; that is, a formal approach to the purpose
and nature of this universal human activity. As such, it requires
an examination of the subjectivity inherent in all description.
The speaker, Paul Pangaro, was
educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Humanities
and Computer Science and holds a doctoral degree in Cybernetics
from Brunel University, UK He has worked with Nelson Max on international
award-winning computer-generated films, with Jerry Lettvin on
neural modeling, with Nicholas Negroponte on color graphics and
animation systems, and with Gordon Pask on the cybernetics of
learning. In 1981, PANGARO Incorporated was formed to provide
a vehicle for applied cybernetics in the commercial arena.