Cybernetics -Information Control

Inquiry overview

Given the disappearing- reappearing nature of ‘Governing Variables’, information, and processes is it possible the the system is using Cybernetic Information Control?

Cybernetic Regulation

  • Cybernetics is about the system moving to a goal “Where you want to get to”
  • Cyberneticians include “Bateson, Mead, Foerster, Weiner, and (Numan?).
  • The system and user “have a goal to get to” which may be at odds with where the system goal is going.
  • Ashby- a strong wind cannot correct the system steering.
  • Requisite Variety.
  • Tolerances – the system has to stay “within certain limits”.
  • More complexity/variety the “harder to build the system”.
  • Designing for conversations.
  • Design as a conversation
  • Can’t learn without conversation.

“…If it is a good regulator the passengers will have a smooth flight whatever the gustiness outside. They will, in short, be prevented from knowing whether or not it is gusty outside.  Thus a good pilot acts as a barrier against the transmission of that information…”

I thought the idea of a ‘Political Regulator’ was to create tipping points to alter the regulators function. Consider the notion of Kantian metrics and those who would choose to use them:

“…While there is a growing literature on “dark traits” (i.e., socially aversive traits), there has been a lack of integration with the burgeoning research literature on positive traits and fulfilling and growth-oriented outcomes in life. To help move the field toward greater integration, we contrasted the nomological network of the Dark Triad (a well-studied cluster of socially aversive traits) with the nomological network of the Light Triad, measured by the 12-item Light Triad Scale (LTS). The LTS is a first draft measure of a loving and beneficent orientation toward others (“everyday saints”) that consists of three facets: Kantianism(treating people as ends unto themselves), Humanism (valuing the dignity and worth of each individual), and Faith in Humanity (believing in the fundamental goodness of humans). Across four demographically diverse samples (N = 1,518), the LTS demonstrated excellent reliability and validity, predicting life satisfaction and a wide range of growth-oriented and self-transcendent outcomes above and beyond existing measures of personality. In contrast, the Dark Triad was negatively associated with life satisfaction and growth-oriented outcomes, and showed stronger linkages to selfish, exploitative, aggressive, and socially aversive outcomes. This exploratory study of the contrasting nomological networks of the Light vs. Dark Triad provides several ways forward for more principled and data driven approaches to explore both the malevolent and beneficent sides of human nature…”

The Light vs. Dark Triad of Personality: Contrasting Two Very Different Profiles of Human Nature – Kaufman, Yaden, Hyde and Tsukayama.

“…The same argument applies to an air-conditioner.  If I live in an air-conditioned room, and can tell, by the hotness of the room, that it is getting hot outside, then that conditioner is failing as a regulator.  If it is really good, and the blinds are drawn, I shall be unable to form any idea of what the outside weather is like.  The good conditioner blocks the flow inwards of information about the weather…”

Cybernetics • Regulation In Biological Systems • Selection 8

Internally insulated with no external information in the regulated environment. I don’t remember that happening.

“…In general, then, an essential feature of the good regulator is that it blocks the flow of variety from disturbances to essential variables...”

Cybernetics • Regulation In Biological Systems • Selection 8

To preserve the variables? What if I want to change them?

  • “Feedback… information as an abstraction”.
  • “A vibrant community in Europe, but its more about application than theory”.
  • Pangaro – “Design for conversations applying to: advertising/marketing, interaction design and software products..”

“…In the last selection we found Ashby making what may strike us initially as a surprising inference.  Starting from the assumption that “an essential function of F as a regulator is that it shall block the transmission of variety from disturbance to essential variable” he draws the conclusion that “the regulator’s function is to block the flow of information”.

… But we need to keep one thing in mind.  When we speak of the regulator blocking the flow of information, we are talking about the whole system (D,F,E) as a “black box”, where the net information flow from input to output is as low as possible.  When we turn to a finer-grained analysis of regulated systems we will see that all sorts of information has to be processed inside the system in order to achieve its mission…”

Cybernetics • Regulation In Biological Systems • Discussion 2


Causal Regulator Diagram

I would suggest taking ‘D’ as the skills shortage and all the narratives that support the shaping of ‘D’ which would include the input indicator.

‘E’ then would be the current sink, for want of a better expression, or stock as in stock-flow diagram. Where ‘E’ is an input.

Where ‘E’ is an output. The narrative for support of the conditions of that output.

“…On what scale can any particular mechanism F be measured for its value or success as a regulator?  ..”

Cybernetics • Regulation In Biological Systems • Selection 6

The way I remember the Tao say, is that changing a Tragedy of the Commons archetype from a positive to a negative archetype created the hubristic means for collapse of the system. That, however would also introduce the unswerving correctness of cultural hegemony.

“…There are intellectual as well as moral and political reasons for the rediscovery of Gramsci…”

The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities – T.J. Jackson Lears

Briefly, there are questions as to the nature of information namely the process thinking of Bayesian updating. The positive and negative emergence of the education system. So I would probably go and check say A-level tests. There would be no point in looking at maths because this is procedural with rules and semantics, but philosophy should be more cognitive.

Some years back the Philosophy A-Level had a curriculum change to solely religious philosophical content. It did so for a year and after receiving criticism changed. The conundrum is: if information that is rote learned, is that belief in that information, and therefore the belief in the system, good or bad? What difference does it make?

Misinformation, Disinformation and Propaganda.

“…Disinformation is false information spread deliberately to deceive.[1][2][3] This is a subset of misinformation, which also may be unintentional…”

Disinformation – Wikipedia

“… Misinformation: information that is false, but which may be believed by the person spreading it, or posted in good faith. It can also be posted in “bad faith,” or with a political goal in mind, but be believed to be true at the same time.

Disinformation: false information which the person spreading it knows to be false.

Misinformation and Disinformation – Storyful Intelligence – September 24, 2018

The trouble with Misinformation is that the probability of it being Disinformation increases with the identification of a system using Cybernetic Information Control. However, when contemplating an additional construct of information – a label – that never actually existed one has to wonder as to whether the level of ‘information abstract form’ interpretation is correct.

I have had to reverse engineer, to some extent, as to whether Information Control is operating and how. So I’ve gone to look for what ground work Bateson would have laid out in, broadly speaking, Metaphysics and Phenomenology.

It turns out that Bateson was with the OSS during WWII, which is now the Home Office, and was involved in Psychological Operations. Which I think I probably need to bring into the frame.

Psychological Warfare

“…Psychological operations (psych-ops or psy-ops) refer to the planned use of psychological knowledge to influence groups, organizations or populations to act in certain ways…”

The methodologies developed for psy-ops provide a knowledge base for: executives considering major organizational change, managers who wish to comprehend political realities, people who wish to recognize organizational strategies, leaders who wish to protect the interests of an organization.

What is Psychological Warfare?

– using propaganda to demoralize an enemy in war, including civilian populations

– using psychological tactics to disadvantage an opponent, e.g. causing fear

Psychological Operations : Psy-Ops

Most Disturbing of all “…Psychological operations seem to be most effective with people who…”

  • trust authorities

  • have little education

  • accept information uncritically

  • want to believe the propaganda

  • benefit from the proposed change

  • do not wish to understand their own motivations

3rd Order Cybernetics

What I have been doing here is elaborating regulator obstruction and use of information as a cybernetic device. First-order cybernetics will be largely unknown until it happens. Second order cybernetics is merely the interaction with the system, say.

For example Skinner’s box in first order cybernetic terms occurs first conceptually – what is in Skinner’s mind – then by construction; the Skinner box. The rat, mouse, or pigeon is the second order agent and validates the behavioural conditioning be it positive or negative operant conditioning.

However, it is not Skinner or his concept, nor box alone that proves the system. Nor is it the mouse pressing the lever that validates the system. It is only the capacity to move to a third-order position and watch the researcher operate the box to change the conditioned behaviour of the mouse. Thus, to view first and second order interactions proves the system to the observer. I think the pennies dropped with a few. That’ll do.

Therefore, the corona of third-order observations defines an abstract (or GST) theory of operation.

  • Conversation is the minimal ‘ethical interface’ where conversation means reliable transparency of action and intent – what and why across the interface.
  • Conversation is the minimal humane interface growing the understanding and informing the action of one or more willing and active participants.
  • Cybernetic design = design for conversation
  • “I shall act always so as to increase the total number of choices” – Ethical imperative Heinz von Foerster.

I’m not convinced that we are always making correct discrimination between the ‘Good regulator’ and the ‘Ethical regulator”.

The ‘Design for conversation’ is at least neutral in this regard.

Transactional Analysis

I’m limited in what I can write here because a new wrapper, or narrative, awaits for cybernetic purposes. Design for conversation… for a Teleological Cybernetic system?

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