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"Cybernetics" comes from a Greek word meaning "the art of steering".

Cybernetics is about having a goal and taking action to achieve that goal.

Knowing whether you have reached your goal (or at least are getting closer to it) requires "feedback", a concept that comes from cybernetics.[1]

In Cybernetics, Wiener defined three central concepts which he maintains were crucial in any organism or system. They are communication, control and feedback. Wiener coined the term "cybernetics" to designate the important role that feedback plays in a communication system. He took the word from the Greek term "kybernetes" meaning "governor" or "steersman."[2] Wiener believed that the digital computer had raised the question of the relationship between the human and the machine, and that it was necessary to explore that relationship in a scientific manner.


Bateson, who had been close to the American group that originally developed cybernetics in the 1940's, brought cybernetics to anthropology at an early stage. The influence of cybernetics is also clearly visible in as diverse authors as Lévi-Strauss, Giddens and Barth”[3]


Cybernetics has many applications in sciences such as biology, economy, statistics, ecology, psychology, astronomy and meterology (expand and reword this).

Further Reading


  1. Pangaro, Paul "Getting Started" Guide to Cybernetics. Accessed Oct 2011.
  2. Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1948, pp. 11-12.
  3. Anthrobase