Neil's Noodlemaps

Project Cybersyn

Project Cybersyn was a system that utilised cybernetics as a part of socio-economic planning in socialist Chile.

I find Cybersyn really interesting because it is an example of an attempt to use technology for leftist, liberatory ends. I see it as an example of liberatory technology.

That said, I'm not massively knowledgeable about it. I'm on and off reading through Eden Medina's book about it. I had originally thought of it as an attempt at centralised planning, but it's more subtle than that I think.

0.1 Change structure to change systemic behaviour

[The] sensible course for the manager is not to try to change the system’s internal behaviour… but to change its structure – so that its natural systemic behavior becomes different.

– Cybernetic Revolutionaries

0.2 Technology for structural transformation

Computers did not need to reinforce existing management hierarchies and procedures; instead, they could bring about structural transformation within a company and help it form new communications channels, generate and exchange information dynamically. …. [Beer’s] focus was not on creating more advanced machines but rather on using existing technologies to develop more advanced systems of organisation.’

– Cybernetic Revolutionaries

0.3 Viable System Model   cybernetics systems_science

Stafford Beer. ‘a general model that he believed balanced centralized and decentralized forms of control in organizations’.

A mixture of horizontal autonomy with channels for vertical communication and stabilisation.

‘It offered a balance between centralized and decentralized control that prevented both the tyranny of authoritarianism and the chaos of total freedom.’

0.4 Liberty Machine   cybernetics

‘a sociotechnical system that functioned as a disseminated network, not a hierarchy’

‘treated information, not authority, as the basis for action’

‘prevented top-down tynranny by creating a distributed network of shared information’.

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