Ross Ashby was one of the pioneers of Cybernetics. His 1956 book, An Introduction to Cybernetics, is still one of the best introductions to Cybernetics. As I was researching his journals, I came across an interesting phrase – “destruction of information.” Ashby noted:
I am not sure whether I have stated before my thesis – that the business of living things is the destruction of information.
Ashby gave several examples to explain what he meant by this. For example:
Consider a thermostat controlling a room’s temperature. If it is working well, we can get no idea, from the temperature of the room whether it is hot or cold outside. The thermostat’s job is to stop this information from reaching the occupant.
He also gave the example of an antiaircraft gun and its predictor. Suppose we observe only the error made by each shell in succession. If the predictor…
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