Architecture, Data and Intelligence: A Cybernetics View of Data-Driven – Richard Veryard

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Architecture, Data and Intelligence: A Cybernetics View of Data-Driven

Architecture, Data and Intelligence

by Richard Veryard

Monday, August 03, 2020

A Cybernetics View of Data-Driven

Cybernetics helps us understand dynamic systems that are driven by a particular type of data. Here are some examples:

  • Many economists see markets as essentially driven by price data.
  • On the Internet (especially social media) we can see systems that are essentially driven by click data.
  • Stan culture, where hardcore fans gang up on critics who fail to give the latest album a perfect score

In a recent interview with Alice Pearson of CRASSH, Professor Will Davies explains the process as follows:

For Hayek, the advantage of the market was that it was a space in which stimulus and response could be in a constant state of interactivity: that prices send out information to people, which they respond to either in the form of consumer decisions or investment decisions or new entrepreneurial strategies.

Davies argued that this is now managed on screens, with traders on Wall Street and elsewhere constantly interacting with (as he says) flashing numbers that are rising and falling.

The way in which the market is visualized to people, the way it presents itself to people, the extent to which it is visible on a single control panel, is absolutely crucial to someone’s ability to play the market effectively.

Davies attributes to cybernetics a particular vision of human agency: to think of human beings as black boxes which respond to stimuluses in particular ways that can be potentially predicted and controlled. (In market trading, this thought leads naturally to replacing human beings with algorithmic trading.)

Davies then sees this cybernetic vision encapsulated in the British government approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Architecture, Data and Intelligence: A Cybernetics View of Data-Driven