cybernetics

From the smart factory to the self-organisation of capital: ‘Industrie 4.0’ as the cybernetisation of production

THIS CONTRIBUTION IS PART OF OUR FORTHCOMING OPEN  ISSUE (20.2, COMING OUT IN MAY 2020)

Introduction

Towards an anarchist cybernetics: Stafford Beer, self-organisation and radical social movements

Introduction

In this paper, I attempt to rehabilitate cybernetics, in some form, as a tradition that has the potential to enrich our understandings of radical or alternative forms of organisation. In doing so, I argue for an anarchist cybernetics: a reading of Stafford Beer’s organisational cybernetics that lends itself to forms of organisation that aim to limit if not completely reject centralised, top-down command and control in favour of participatory and democratic practices.

Information, cybernetics and the second industrial revolution

The aim that motivates Ronald R. Kline’s The cybernetics moment is an attempt to answer the question of ‘why we came to believe that we live in an information age’ [6]. Kline works towards this by tracing the history of the concept of information from the early days of cybernetics and information theory in the 1940s and during the Second World War, through the ‘cybernetics craze’ of the 1950s, the decline of cybernetics in the 1960s, the counter-culture hype around information in the 1970s and, ultimately, the advent of the ‘information age’ in the 1980s.

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