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Cybernetics Tradition


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Jillian Packer
Dena Rosko
Sherry Janda
Joseph Kemp

Gonzaga University 2008

Published in: Education, Technology

Cybernetics Tradition

  1. 1. Cybernetics Tradition By Jillian Packer Dena Rosko Sherry Janda & Joseph Kemp
  2. 2. Cybernetic breakdown <ul><li>Cybernetics is &quot;the study of information processing, feedback, and control and communications systems,&quot; where information is the &quot;reduction of uncertainty; the less predictable the message is, the more information it carries&quot; as described in the equation: channel capacity = information+ noise (Griffin, 2008, pp. 43-44). </li></ul><ul><li>Noise is the &quot;enemy of information&quot; because it interrupts the &quot;information carrying capacity of the channel between the transmitter and receiver&quot; (Griffin, 2008, pp. 43-44). </li></ul>
  3. 3. What’s in a name? <ul><li>The term “cybernetics” originated with Norbert Wiener in 1947, to refer to control in communication. </li></ul><ul><li>It stems from the Greek term for “steersman” and the Latin word for “governor” (Griffin, 2009; Duffy, 1984). </li></ul><ul><li>Simply put, cybernetics is “the study of information processing, feedback, and control in communication systems.” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Getting Established <ul><li>Of major influence to cybernetics was Claude Shannon, a research scientist for the Bell Telephone company who set out to control the signals that can distort a message. He was the first to formally establish cybernetics as the processing of information (Griffin, 2009). Shannon explains that as communicators, we are the information source. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Shannon leads the way <ul><li>The cybernetic tradition relies heavily on the mathematical theory of communication by Claude E. Shannon (1963). </li></ul><ul><li>The cybernetic tradition and the mathematical theory of communication are virtually interchangeable as the tradition relies heavily on the theory. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Three is the magic number <ul><li>There are three main components of cybernetics </li></ul>
  7. 7. 1. The goal or the message to be conveyed
  8. 8. 2. The difference between the goal and what was actually conveyed
  9. 9. 3. Feedback <ul><li>Feedback indicates to the source what is happening at the receiver’s end </li></ul>
  10. 10. What is the goal? <ul><li>The end goal of Shannon’s model is to increase the amount of information that is successfully transmitted from the information source to the destination. </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>The children’s game Telephone is a good example. </li></ul><ul><li>One person begins the message and tells their neighbor who tells their neighbor and so on. Along the way, the message is subject to noise and changes from person to person. The last person to receive the message (the destination) says aloud what message they received . </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>This is the process of feedback. The message’s end meaning typically does not match up to the intended message. The difference between the starting message and the end message can be reduced by control. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Analysis <ul><li>Shannon says every method of communication has its limit which is equal to the amount of information being transmitted and the amount of noise present. </li></ul><ul><li>The information must be repeated and reiterated, without becoming boring, to combat the noise. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, to Shannon, communication is “the applied science of maintaining an optimal balance between predictability and uncertainty,” (Griffin, 2009). </li></ul>
  14. 15. Good theory? <ul><li>This mathematical theory of communication maintains many scientific standards of a good theory. It also allows for humanistic standards. The theory explains its data and tests its hypothesis with formulas. </li></ul><ul><li>The author identifies his hypothesis in describing a &quot;fundamental problem of communication&quot; as being &quot;reproducing at one point either exactly or approximately a message selected at another point&quot; (Shannon, 1963, 306). I define his hypothesis as determinism in language. </li></ul>
  15. 16. Good Theory Continued <ul><li>The theory shares a community of agreement , as noted in scientists and engineers who accepted the source coding theorem and its rejection of the channel coding theorem (Gappmair, 1999, p. 103). In addition, Shannon predicted future events in his forward error correction schemes (originally in 1948) </li></ul><ul><li>This work identifies three levels of communications problems as a practical utility . How accurately can the symbols of communication be transmitted? (The technical problem); how precisely to the transmitted symbols convey the desired meaning? (The semantic problem); and, how effectively does a received meaning perfect conduct in the desired way? (The effectiveness problem, p.4). </li></ul>
  16. 17. Questions about the theory? <ul><li>Does it lack parsimony? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it take into consideration the human component of communication? </li></ul><ul><li>Is wanting to “control” the message ethical? </li></ul><ul><li>Are human beings just receivers and senders? </li></ul>
  17. 18. Bibliography <ul><li>Gappmair, W. (1999). Claude E. Shannon: the 50th anniversary of information technology. IEEE Communications Magazine , 102-105. </li></ul><ul><li>Griffin, E. (2008). A first look at communications theory (7th ed.) (pp. 38-44). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Shannon, C. (1963). The mathematical theory of communication. M.D. Computing, 14(4, 1997) , 306-307. </li></ul><ul><li>Shannon, C. & Weaver, W. (1998). Recent contributions to the mathematical theory of communication. The Mathematical Theory of Communication . Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois press, vii, 4, 25. </li></ul>