No system can persist if not "cybernetic", i.e. containing feedbacks, regulations and controls (N. WIENER), being endowed with variety (W.R. ASHBY), being autopoietic (H. MATURANA and F. VARELA), and in autonomous relations with its environment or suprasystem (P. VENDRYES, J.van GIGCH).
R. VALLÉE describes cybernetic systems as follows: "They are dynamical systems that possess input, state and output, and consequently an evolution equation. Such a system is cybernetic if it is possible to distinguish an observational sequence (of the inputs), followed by a decisional sequence leading to the effectors organs (related to outputs), being well understood that the observational sequence allows the system to observe its environment and itself In this way a basic feedback loop is instaured which calls upon various communication modes (transmission of perceptions and decisions) which justifies the cybernetic qualification" (1995, p.26).
It ensues from this description that cybernetic systems are co-evolving with their environment (p.89-90).
VALLÉE uses this understanding to construct his "epistemo-praxeology".
Another interesting description is E. LASZLO's according to whom the general characteristics that cybernetics systems exhibit are:
"1 – Goal parameters set in a control center
"2 – Sensing mechanisms whereby information relevant to the system's goals is registered in the system.
"3 – Effector mechanisms whereby the system acts on its environment
"4 – Transformation rules or procedures whereby information received from the sensors is compared with information about the goal-states and an error-correcting signal is produced to modify the behavior of the effectors".
LASZLO adds: "The function of correcting for deviation from the paths of goal-attainment is that of the central regulator. It must contain a long term memory which stores the system's norms, i.e. the goal-conditions, which the system pursues by means of its deviation- reducting behavior" (1974, p.186).
LASZLO understands that these characteristics are proper to living organisms and sociopolitical systems as well as artificial control systems. They are probably inherent to anything that could be somehow described as a system: the sun, our planet, an ecosystem.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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