"Cybernetics comes from the Greek root kubernetes, meaning pilot or helmsman, and was first used by Plato in his dialogues on Laws and The Republic to denote a governor of a country. In the 1940s, cybernetics was given its current meaning by Norbert Wiener in his 1948 book Cybernetics, Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. According to Weiner, at a basic level, cybernetics refers to “the set of problems centred about communication, control and statistical mechanics, whether in the machine or in living tissue”. Wiener’s concept was that the behaviour of all organisms, machines and other physical systems is controlled by their communication structures, both within themselves and with their environment. The result of this book was that the notion of feedback penetrated almost every aspect of technical culture. Early influential cyberneticians working in Britain include W Ross Ashby, Stafford Beer, W Grey Walter, Frank H George and Gordon Pask. Pask’s interactive cybernetic work Colloquy of Mobiles was exhibited at CS. This large-scale reactive and educable sculptural installation is now seen as a precursor to human-machine interaction. Cybernetics, the study of how machine, social and biological systems behave, offered a means of constructing a framework for art production in which artists could consider new technologies and their impact on life." - Catherine Mason

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