CybSights Insights: Putting on CyBeer Goggles (in public administration)

Written by Angus Jenkinson · 3 min read >

April 24


10:57 am - 10:57 am

Event Category:

CybSights Insights Series

View the world as a cybernetician. Tim Falkiner explores POSIWID, isomorphism, & variety balance rooted in town planning & law.

The Insights Series is an eclectic and learned collection of monthly events on the 4th Tuesday of each month hosted by Cybernetics Society. There will be lectures, seminars, conversations, debates, participation, all advancing our knowledge of cybernetics and related disciplines and their applications to real world needs. Speakers present their own views, without formal endorsement.

Cybernetics is the science of achievement, the great meta-discipline of our time.

The CybSights Insights series is normally curated and hosted by the Secretary, Angus Jenkinson, FCybS. Attendance is free. Non-members are invited to make an optional donation or to Join.

In this session we welcome an Australian.

We are particularly delighted to be able to welcome Tim Falkiner with his experience in town planning, law, and legilstion with ‘homeskooled’ cybernetics.

Putting on our CyBeer Goggles

The underlying object of this discussion is to have the participants exercise their ability to think in cybernetic terms. To put on “cybeer” goggles and view the world as a cyberneticist. Cybernetics is a large field, but Tim has selected three cybernetic topics to explore. In three 25 minute segments, Tim will (i) explain what he understands of each topic; (ii) give some applications of that law or technique and (iii) invite the participants to give examples of how they apply the laws and techniques in their own professions or lives.

POSIWID The purpose of a system is what it does. Our purpose often defines the extent of the system or systems. It is helpful, in considering the purpose of a system from an objective, scientific, cybernetic viewpoint; to use Stafford Beer’s concept of POSIWID.

Isomorphism – The control system is isomorphic with the system under control. The town planner, J. Brian McLoughlin, writing about urban and regional planning systems, makes the point that control systems must have the same form and operation as the systems which they control —an application of the Conant-Ashby theorem:

“… the control devices for any system have to be isomorphic with the system to be controlled, that is, they have to be of similar form. This enables us to say that the planning process must have a similar ‘shape’ to the human ecosystem.”

Balancing variety – Given the control system must be isomorphic with the system under control, and given the infinite variety involved in real-world systems, a regulator must balance the resources available to it with the system to be controlled. Problems of increasing, decreasing, and balancing variety in time are considered.

Tim Falkiner – Crown solicitor, town planner, barrister, legislator

Tim lives in Melbourne, Australia with a career blending law and town planning. This gives experience in law as a regulator, system design and the science of cybernetics. As town planner, legal officer in the Victorian Ministry for Planning and Environment and the Crown Solicitor’s Office of Victoria in the Constitution, Legislation and Advisings section, he gained wide experience of land use planning and environmental legislation. He wrote the specification for the first computerised tribunal registry system in Victoria. Tim has practised as a barrister and is a life member of the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association. He learned cybernetic controls systems theory in 1976 and found other parallels (e.g. between Garth Thornton’s book “Legislative Drafting” and Frederick Brook’s book on the development of the IBM System 360 and OS/360, its operating system). He is the author (1982) of “Scientific Legislation – The Use of Cybernetics and Software Engineering Knowledge to Explain What Legislation Is, How it Behaves and How It should be Designed, Maintained and Replaced” influenced by Stafford Beer’s cybernetics. He is now revisiting it to reconcile Beer’s definition of planning as a continuous process of making and discarding plans, with the difficulties, so clearly outlined by software engineers of maintaining legislation in the face of continuous change towards a future more dynamically adaptive legislative style based on cybernetic principles.

Join us, and engage in the dynamics of these key concepts

The sessions are designed for audience participation!

Cybernetics Society – a learned society developing the science of design and contextual responsiveness.

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Cybernetics offers a distinct “go” — techniques — to address local and global challenges of the 21st century.

The Cybernetics Society promotes and offers education and research opportunities in the rich field of cybernetics. It is a specially authorised learned society regulated by the FSA and established by a 1974 Act of Parliament. To join visit our membership system or pick the Join ticket. We give MCybS and FCybS postnomal awards.

Cybernetics and the Society seek understanding of the vast domain of active causation, internally controlled behaviour towards outcomes of value in living organisms, people, ecosystems, societies and firms, and non-living machines. We cultivate the principles and praxis required to design policies, interventions, and innovations for social and ecological weal.

Cybernetics plays into and strongly influences many scientific and practice fields including design, epistemology, ecology, biology, psychology and living behaviour, technology and engineering, social policy, and business practice. Many feature in the wonderfully aware and successful designers and thinkers of this series.

We are interested in people who are learners, advisers, researchers, academics, designers, leaders. Those involved in policy and practice — think tanks, central and local government, enterprises, foundations, academic and civil society institutions. These may range from Rowntree to RSA, Royal Society to the Royal Institute of British Architects, the local housing association to the UN. We place great importance on the value of cybernetics for better business. From startups to global giants, cybernetics offers powerful insight and tools for enterprise.

The Cybernetics Society has been hosting conversations and lectures since the late 1960s. We also have an Annual Conference. Videos are shared on our YouTube Channel. Get in touch of you have an idea. Follow us.

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