Download Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in by Eden Medina PDF

By Eden Medina

In Cybernetic Revolutionaries, Eden Medina tells the historical past of 2 intersecting utopian visions, one political and one technological. the 1st used to be Chile's scan with peaceable socialist switch less than Salvador Allende; the second one was once the simultaneous try to construct a working laptop or computer approach that might deal with Chile's economic climate. Neither imaginative and prescient was once totally realized--Allende's govt ended with a violent army coup; the method, often called venture Cybersyn, used to be by no means thoroughly implemented--but they carry classes for this present day concerning the dating among know-how and politics.

Drawing on vast archival fabric and interviews, Medina examines the cybernetic approach anticipated through the Chilean government--which used to be to add holistic procedure layout, decentralized administration, human-computer interplay, a countrywide telex community, close to real-time keep an eye on of the turning out to be commercial region, and modeling the habit of dynamic structures. She additionally describes, and files with pictures, the network's big name Trek-like operations room, which featured swivel chairs with armrest keep an eye on panels, a wall of monitors showing facts, and flashing purple lighting to point financial emergencies.

Studying venture Cybersyn at the present time is helping us comprehend not just the technological pursuits of a central authority in the middle of political switch but additionally the constraints of the Chilean revolution. This background additional indicates how human makes an attempt to mix the political and the technological with the target of making a extra simply society can open new technological, highbrow, and political percentages. applied sciences, Medina writes, are ancient texts; after we learn them we're examining historical past.

Literary Awards
Edelstein Prize (2012)

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Additional resources for Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile

Sample text

Creating the kind of holistic, adaptive system that in Beer’s mind functioned like the human nervous system required a different approach to the problem of control. Adaptive Control The idea of control is commonly associated with domination. Beer offered a different definition: he defined control as self-regulation, or the ability of a system to adapt to internal and external changes and survive. This alternative approach to control resulted in multiple misunderstandings of Beer’s work, and he was repeatedly criticized for using computers to create top-down control systems that his detractors equated with authoritarianism and the loss of individual freedom.

This communications network gave the government access to current information on national activities that it used in its decision making. It then used the network to transmit its directives quickly and reliably the length of country. These abilities helped the government withstand and survive a crisis that is commonly viewed as a watershed moment in the Allende government. Chapter 5 is therefore the most important chapter in this book from the perspective of Chilean history. This chapter also documents the diverging views within the project team on how Project Cybersyn should be used to advance the Chilean road to socialism, and thus shows how historical readings of technology can make visible the complexities internal to a political project.

Cybernetic practitioners tried to create a universal science by devising a universal language. 30 22 Chapter 1 Wiener’s book had substantial influence on both sides of the Atlantic. Cybernetics inspired engineers to introduce feedback into industrial regulation processes. 31 Cybernetics was also one of the rare technical books to become a crossover hit with the general public; it went through five printings in the six months after its release. Wiener and his work were featured in the popular magazines Time, Newsweek, Life, the New Yorker, and Fortune.

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