Re: [OPE] project-cybersyn

From: wpc <>
Date: Mon Dec 14 2009 - 15:42:44 EST

I have no reason to doubt Beers account. The writer of your link is
applying the standards of 2009 to the technology of 40 years ago. He
says that the computer screens were a fraud because they operated
with slide projectors behind the scenes -- well in those days the
technology to create large flat screen
computer displays did not exist, computer colour graphics displays did
not exist. He speaks dismissively
of the use of Western Union telex machines, but 110 baud telex machines
were the standard i/o device
for minicomputers in the 70s. That was what I was using when I did my
computing degree in 75.

What was inovative about Beer was that he attempted with what today
seems very primitive technolgy to build a cybernetic feedback system
which responded to anomalies and flagged them up to people in the
control room.
The OP ROOM should be considered as a descendent of the air defence op
rooms developed by the RAF during world war II. These had a
predominantly manually driven display system. The OP ROOM proposed by
Beer also would have had to rely on a combination of manual and
electrical displays.

Beer was using computers that by modern standards were ridiculously low
powered, but so were all cyberneticians, one should not apply the
expectations of 2009 to 1970.
Michael Perelman wrote:
> Paul, this site implies that Beer was a fraud. I was hoping that you
> could help me in understanding the validity of the charge, since you
> know a great deal about the subject.
> On Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 10:11:23AM +0000, wpc wrote:
>> michael perelman wrote:
>>> I have heard very interesting things about project-cybersyn.
>>> Alex Tabarrok claims it was a fraud. Does anyone have any further
>>> information?
>> Stafford Beer gave an account of it in his book, I think the book was
>> called 'The Brain of the Firm'.
>> _______________________________________________
>> ope mailing list

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Received on Mon Dec 14 15:46:11 2009

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