The Cybernetics Society, 51st Anniversary Conference 21st September 2019 at King’s College, London


Source: The Cybernetics Society

51st Anniversary Conference

The Conference will be held on Saturday 21st September 2019
The Council Room, King’s College, 152-170 Strand, London WC2R 1ES


9.30     Registration

10.00 The Use and Abuse of Cybernetic Concepts in Economics Dr David Dewhurst, Management Consultant, Member of Brunel University Council, Society Secretary, Former Head teacher, University Lecturer and Ofsted Inspector.

11.00 AI & VR in Healthcare- A Cybernetic Perspective” Martin Ciupa, Chief AI Officer MindMaze, Lausanne, Switzerland. Former TEDx Speaker, Top 25 Social Influencer in Risk and Regulatory Technology in the USA.

12.00 Break

12.15 Holistic Security-or Finding Needles in Needle-stacks! Prof. Peter Cochrane OBE, Professor of Sentient Systems at the University of Suffolk and previously Professor for the Public Understanding of Science & Technology at Bristol University.

1.15 Imparity, Service-Dominant Logic, and the Architecture of Enterprise Prof. Angus Jenkinson, Partner at Thinking, Director at the Centre for Thinking Futures.

2.15 Lunch at Aldwych Cafe, Starbucks, Pret a Manger etc

3.30 A Cybernetic Approach to Introducing Robotics Prof Richard Mitchell, Professor of Cybernetics and Director of the School of Technology Enhanced Learning, Department of Computer Science, University of Reading.

4.30 Anticipating New Waves of Disruption in the Field of Artificial Intelligence” David W Wood DSc, Principal, Delta Wisdom and Chair of London Futurists.

5.30 Break

5.45 Ten Thousand Years of Alienation” Prof John Wood, Professor of Practice, Swansea College of Art, University of Wales, and Emeritus Professor of Design at Goldsmiths, University of London.

6.45 Panel question and answer session with all our speakers.

Finish at 7.15 to be followed by dinner at 7.30pm at Salieri’s Restaurant, Strand.

Cybernetics Society members, staff, students and alumni of King’s College are admitted free of charge. Non-members may apply to join at the conference. The membership fee for the three months to the end of the year is £5. The student membership fee for the three months is £2.50. Application forms will be made available on the day. If you are considering attending please email so that we can estimate numbers. If you are contemplating joining us for dinner, please let us know for restaurant booking.

Further information on the Society and an application form is available on our website here.

Please put the date in your diary now.


“The Use and Abuse of Cybernetic Concepts in Economics”

David Dewhurst Economics is replete with systems models. Umpleby (2011) identified it as ideal territory for Second Order Cybernetics and Soros’ concept “Reflexicity” previously expressed the same notions, profitably. Hayek promoted the market as the perfect distributed intelligence network and was versed in the potential of neural nets. Mainstream economics has promoted stochastic stabilisation models while Marx posited an inevitable collapse. Complexity and chaos models are easy to build but of little demonstrable use as yet, at least at the macroeconomic level. The modelling of Minsky and Keen has gained credibility and popularity, but modelling itself is prone to systematic weaknesses. The implicit assumptions of economists and the zeitgeist do not usefully simplify these issues. The territory explored in this presentation will be moderated by (damped) audience feedback.


“AI & Virtual Reality (VR) in Healthcare – A Cybernetic Perspective”

Martin Ciupa This presentation describes closed-loop machine learning applied to neurological disorder diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy. The platform described as a working example is MindMaze’s MindMotion product family. MindMotion’s first application is in stroke therapy. If a stroke victim develops upper arm impairments the computer provides a gamified VR motion-based experience. The patient’s actual kinematic movements are detected (by Machine Learning), and if anomalies are present, recommendations are made to exercise normative motions (e.g., a patient may compensate upper arm movement impairment by twisting the torso). The case is made that the methodology allows for a new paradigm of healthcare, that we refer to as Healthcare 5.0.


“Holistic Security – or Finding Needles in Needle-stacks! “

Peter Cochrane In an increasingly connected and complex world, solutions to problems are no longer simple. Old techniques and thinking are being pushed aside as non-linearity and emergent behaviour become dominant. So, it is no surprise to see cyber-security on the “back foot” and struggling to cope with agile enemies that are faster to innovate. “We have to get ahead of the game by embracing a multiplicity of new tools and techniques”. “In an ideal world: responses to Cyber and Terror would be automated and immediate”. National Security Threats now embrace: People; Companies; Governments; Devices; Networks; Services; Vehicles; Properties; LAND; SEA; AIR; SPACE; CYBER and INFORMATION. So we have to think and operate simultaneously across all these domains and behave more like our enemies.


“Imparity, Service-Dominant Logic, and the Architecture of Enterprise”

Angus Jenkinson Imparity Is a concept within Ternary Theory (Stewart) that proposes the necessity for a third domain in the organization of (at least) a large variety of systems. These would include the socio-economic systems of civilisation. Service-dominant-logic (SDL) is a paradigm-shifting marketing theory (Lusch and Varga) close to the presenter’s position. It re-architects the nature and relationship of value or service in the (cybernetic) business process. It offers a framework for the considered application of ternary theory. The implications fold back into the conceptual structuring of an enterprise as a recursive dynamic of value-creation. Drawing also on theories of organisational identity and botanical morphology, and including a brief critique of marketing, the presentation hopes to suggest new avenues for cybernetic and practical research.


“A Cybernetic Approach to Introducing Robotics”

Richard Mitchell. Begin Robotics is a successful open online course on FutureLearn, which uses cybernetics to introduce robotics, control, haptics, artificial intelligence and artificial life (including Lovelock’s Daisyworld). Whilst aimed at Key Stage 3 pupils as a recruitment tool, it also features in the first year of the undergraduate degree. The course features various robots, including a specially designed robot called ERIC which appears in some videos, and interactive web pages which are used to illustrate key concepts and in exercises where users work out the velocities of ERIC so that it can perform suitable actions. This talk will give an overview of the course, the cybernetic approach, demonstrate some of the web pages which are used, and feature the “robots behaving badly” out take video.


“Anticipating new waves of disruption in the field of Artificial Intelligence”

This presentation will defend the view that what’s known as AGI, Artificial General Intelligence, might be developed by mid century, and possibly as early as within the next decade. The presentation will include some history, an analysis of how disruption occurs (drawing on the speaker’s enterprise professional experience as well as his studies as a futurist), reasons why the pace of development of AI is likely to increase, answers to various commonly expressed criticisms, a review of some potential future scenarios, and some discussion about steps that might be taken in view of this analysis. As it happens, Norbert Wiener long ago anticipated some more recent thought experiments about over-eager paperclip maximisers. But as AGI approaches, paperclip maximisers will be the least of the challenges facing society.


“Ten Thousand Years of Alienation”

Although Marx’s saw humans as intrinsically “natural”, his theory of estrangement from the self (1844) can be interpreted either allopoietically, or autopoietically. For 10K years, agriculture and technology have enabled us to scale-up our social systems at levels increasingly beyond our comfort zones, cognitively speaking. We did so by exchanging the situated experience of being “responsible” with the detached and summative concept of “accountability”. Since then, successive developments (clock-time, unit-based money, geometry, writing, Taylorism, automation, AI, etc.) added layers of alienation, that estranged us further from ourselves in our “natural” ecological context. One way to make governance and education more convivial, like “living systems” (i.e. “sympoietic”) is to develop Metadesign tools and grammatical frameworks that are more relational.


Speakers’ biographies

Dr David Dewhurst Dr David Dewhurst is a former Management Consultant, Member of Brunel University Council, Head Teacher, University Lecturer, Lead Ofsted Inspector and Facilitator for the Economics Group of “Occupy London”. He has published in The Financial Times becoming the editor’s monthly pick. He has written on economics for and the Tax Justice Network. David was instrumental in getting the 1217 Charter of the Forest (medieval “Basic Income”) celebrated in the Speaker’s House, Westminster. He has debated in Parliament’s Committee Room 10 and has written for, and helped organise, a number of economics conferences. He has a talk on YouTube. He has an interest in what modelling (and metaphors and myths) omit from our perception of reality and sees economics as an ideal playground to illustrate this. His PhD title was “Conceptual and Cognitive Problems in Cybernetics”.
Martin Ciupa Martin Ciupa is Head of AI Initiatives at Mindmaze, Switzerland. Formerly Regional VP for Agilent and British Telecom and senior manager in AI/Cybernetic & Robotic systems and IT&T in Europe, the Americas and Asia, in technology, commercial and executive roles. His most recent position was CTO of Calvary Robotics developing intelligent automation systems. He has published in international journals and conference proceedings, including presentations to the EU, the Robotics Industry Association, the Harvard Medical School Big Data & AI conference, the Berlin “Rise of AI conference” and the United Nations SDG Health Summit. Martin was listed as a top 100 authority in AI, ML, Speech Recognition and NLP, and in the top 25 influencers in Risk, Compliance, and Regulatory Technology in the United States. He is a TEDx speaker with 80k followers on social media.
picture Peter Cochrane Peter Cochrane is Professor of Sentient Systems at the University of Suffolk and previously Professor for the Public Understanding of Science & Technology at Bristol University. He has Honorary Doctorates from six other universities. He was Head of Research and Chief Technology Officer at BT, with a 1000 strong team. He was given the Queen’s Award for Innovation & Export in 1990. He has published over 400 scientific and engineering papers, patents, press articles, edited books and chapters and made over 300 national and international appearances on radio and TV. He has been advisor to over 100 universities, research groups, journals and organisations.
picture of Angus Jenkinson Angus Jenkinson was the world’s first Professor of Integrated Marketing and is a leading researcher and authority on the theory of enterprise self-organization, identity, and performance. He is a non-executive director of several companies, a system designer, and strategy consultant. He founded the management consultancy Stepping Stoneswhich later became Thinking, in which he is a partner. He also founded The Centre for Thinking Futures. A former tech entrepreneur and pioneering authority on digital marketing (as a cybernetic discipline), Angus has advised scores of leading companies and coached very many business leaders. He created the Virtuoso® management tool, used around the world. He has authored or co-authored 3 books and published numerous papers, cases, and book chapters. He is a Trustee of the Cybernetics Society.
picture of Richard Mitchell Richard Mitchell is Professor of Cybernetics and a University Teaching Fellow at the University of Reading, which he first attended as an undergraduate reading Cybernetics & Control Engineering, prior to his PhD, entitled ‘Multimicroprocessor Control of Processes with Pure Time Delay’, before becoming a lecturer. He has held many offices at Reading, including Head of Department of Cybernetics, Director of Teaching and Learning and then Senior Tutor in the School of Systems Engineering, and is currently Director of Technology Enhanced Learning in the School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences. He programmed the “seven dwarf” robots in Cybernetics which were forerunners of the ERIC robot which features in “Begin Robotics”. His interests include artificial intelligence, control, robotics, Gaia and online learning.
picture of David Wood David Wood D.Sc is a consultant for Delta Wisdom and Chair of London Futurists. He is one of the pioneers of the smartphone industry, having co-founded Symbian, the creator of the world’s first successful smartphone operating system. He held leadership roles at: Accenture Mobility, Psion Software and Symbian. His software for user interface frameworks and application architecture has been included on over 500 million smartphones. David has a triple first class mathematics degree from Cambridge and undertook doctoral research in the Philosophy of Science. In 2009 he was included in T3’s list of “100 most influential people in technology”. He is author or lead editor of eight books including “Envisioning Politics 2.0: How AI, cyborgs, and transhumanism can enhance democracy and improve society”, “Smartphones and Beyond”“The Abolition of Aging” and “Sustainable Superabundance”.
picture of John Wood John Wood recently founded the Metadesign Research Centre at University of Wales Trinity St. David, where he is Professor of Practice. He is also Emeritus Professor of Design at Goldsmiths, University of London. His interest in cybernetics began in the late 1960s when, as a fine art student, he developed interactive electronic installations and a computer-assisted play. After ten years as Deputy Head of Fine Art at Goldsmiths, during the YBA years, he wrote several radical design degrees which formed the basis for the current Department of Design. John is co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice and an original and active member of the cult band “Deaf School”.


By Underground

For Underground train travellers the nearest stations are Temple (500 metres, District and Circle lines), Covent Garden (800 metres, Piccadilly line), Embankment and Charing Cross (800 metres, Northern and Bakerloo lines).

By Bus

Bus travellers may catch the 6, 7, 13, 23, 76, 521 and RV1.