When a Machine Breaks…:

Harish's Notebook - My notes... Lean, Cybernetics, Quality & Data Science.

In today’s post, I am looking with more depth at the ideas of Cybernetics with relation to Ross Ashby, one of the pioneers of Cybernetics.

In particular, I am looking at one of the Ashby aphorisms:

When a machine breaks, it changes its mind.

This is a very interesting observation from a Cybernetics standpoint. Ashby defined a machine as follows:

It is a collection of parts which (a) alter in time, and (b) which interact with on one another in some determinate and known manner.

A designer designs the machine specific to an environment. This means that the designer has encoded a model of the environment into the machine so that when certain perturbations are encountered, the machine reacts in a certain manner. The variety that is estimated to be “thrown” at the machine is captured by the designer, and appropriate responses are encoded into the parts or the circuitry…

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