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The term cybernetics refers to an approach for exploring and understanding different systems and how they interact, particularly in regard to circular causality. Circular causality, or a feedback loop, is when the results of one part of the system are taken as inputs for a following part. The field of cybernetics has been around for many years, and it continues to grow and develop, although it has been described in many different ways by many different people. In 1948, mathematician Norbert Wiener famously defined cybernetics as “the study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.” Cybernetics has been applied to many fields, including psychology, engineering, and architecture. While there are many ways of thinking about cybernetics, at its most basic it is the study of control systems and their interactions.
Cybernetics is frequently used to better understand the function of a process, and often includes developing an algorithm or model that optimizes the inputs while minimizing delays or overshoots, and thereby helps to ensure stability. This particular aspect of cybernetics is called control theory and is often utilized in order to improve performance while still ensuring that the goal is achieved. Understanding processes allows them to be optimized and refined, and cybernetics is especially helpful when trying to decipher and comprehend different processes. This particular use of cybernetics is one of the most common, and this type of thought process is what enables its usage across different fields.
In recent decades, cybernetics has often been overshadowed by artificial intelligence, even though artificial intelligence was influenced by cybernetics in many ways. Recently, cybernetics has been returning to the public conscience, and is once more being used in multiple fields, including: