POSTED ON BY PAUL PANGARO
Update — #NewMacyMeeting #1 — Why Can’t Cybernetics Tame Pandemics?
Click here for direct link to panel session on the conference webpage.
Here are more details for our first meeting of the revival of the Macy Meetings in cybernetics on Sunday September 13th at Noon EDT, first reported in this prior post, as follows:
Our speakers Larry Richards and Ben Sweeting will respond to the provocation, “Why Can’t Cybernetics Tame Pandemics?” Then our respondents will each answer the questions, “Where did the speakers agree?” and “What did they leave out?” Our confirmed respondents are BCE Scott and Patricia Ticineto Clough. The speakers are then allowed to respond, and the process repeats. Read below for a longer description of context and intention.
This one-hour session is part of the 2-day 2020 Global Conversation Conference, a joint effort of the American Society for Cybernetics and the British Cybernetic Society. Registration is required but a donation is completely optional. Please go to this ASC page for more information and the link to register. You will receive a Zoom video invitation thereafter.
The moderator the session, Paul Pangaro, has initiated #NewMacy in response to 21st-century global pandemics for which COVID is only one, while certainly vivid and immediately threatening. Click here for more details on the overall direction of the #NewMacyMeetings. Read on below for the detailed description of this first experiment In the revival of #NewMacy.
Provocation: Why Can’t Cybernetics Tame Pandemics?
We live in the unprecedented era of multiple global pandemics. While the COVID-19 pandemic of biology has forced an immediate response, other pandemics have existed for some time: rapacious technology, uncontrolled climate change, inequitable healthcare systems, racist socio-economic structures, food and water insecurity… the list is long.
In design circles such ‘wicked challenges’ are construed to encompass but also to require more than viewpoints of first-order complexity; they require articulation of worldview(s) in which purpose, human values, and humility are most prominent. This second-order rhetorical step emphasizes the need for the dynamics of conversation, sufficient for shared understanding and coordinated action in the face of wicked challenges.
Cybernetics purports to offer both a first- and second-order praxis. Can it help here? To stimulate debate, the prompt for the panel is: Why can’t cybernetics tame the wicked pandemics of today? The purpose is not simply to identify what is outside of cybernetics but to point out the limitations of cybernetics as a praxis for today’s pandemics.
This panel is the first event in the revival of the Macy Meetings for the global challenges of the 21st-century. (See this doc for more details.)