Sketches of Another Future: Cybernetics in Britain, 1940-2000

Date/Time
Wednesday
30 Sep 2015
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Location
470 Stephens Hall

Event Type
Colloquium

Andrew Pickering
Professor of Sociology, Philosophy, and Anthropology; University of Exeter

This talk aims to map out an important but little known branch of cybernetics as it developed in Britain from the 1940s to the present. Examples are drawn from the work of leading cyberneticians including Ross Ashby, Stafford Beer, Gordon Pask, Gregory Bateson and R D Laing in fields as diverse as brain science, psychiatry and antipsychiatry, adaptive robotics, biological computing drawing upon lively material such as ecosystems, management, the arts, entertainment and architecture, including connections to eastern spirituality and the 1960s counterculture. We can understand cybernetic projects and artefacts as ontological theatre—as staging and acting out for us a vision of the world radically different from that of modern science and western commonsense, and the talk seeks to explore the ontological politics of cybernetics, arguing that it aimed at an experimental openness to what the world has to offer us, rather than the grim modernist quest for domination and control—revealing rather than enframing, in Heidegger’s terms.

 

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies • Office for the History of Science and Technology
Office for the History of Science and Technology

Upcoming Events