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The Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.

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

Publication date: Oct 2, 2013 4:13:11 PM

Start: Nov 20, 2013 4:00:00 PM
End: Nov 20, 2013 6:00:00 PM

Location: South Wing, Garwood Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Prof Andrew Pickering, University of Exeter

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

Abstract: 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.

Page last modified on 02 oct 13 16:12 by Jo E Pearson


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