Another Post on Constraints – Harish’s notebook

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

In today’s post, I am looking again at the idea of constraints in relation to Ross Ashby’s ideas and the ideas of second order cybernetics. As far as I know, Ashby did not go into the differentiation of first and second order cybernetics. A lot of what he wrote can be filed away under “First order cybernetics”. But to do so will be missing the forest for the trees. A lot of Ashby’s ideas were ahead of his time and resonate with the ideas of complexity and systems thinking.

Ashby tied the idea of constraints to variety and the observer. Variety, as I have written here before, can be loosely put as the number of possible states differentiated by an observer. So, for example, an analog light switch can be said to have a variety of two – ON and OFF. Constraint is the relational part between an observer and…

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