Week 3: Cybernetics

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Academic College Projects: Cybernetics

The term cybernetics derived from the Greek word kybernates, meaning “steerman.” It was first introduced by Norbert Wiener, in 1948. He used it to describe a new science which combined the theories of communications and control.
Wiener believed that cybernetics has the capacity to encompass the human mind, body and the world of technology. By combining all three simultaneously we would have control and communication (Featherstone and Burrows, 2000).
Cybernetics is the science of control and communication in the animal and the machine (Hook, 2004). Cybernetics is focusing on not what the machine is, but what the machine does. It has been recognised that there are similarities in biological and mechanical systems so researchers have pursued the idea of merging biological and mechanical systems together. Thus, cybernetics have taken on the meaning of adding prostheses to human or animal body to either replace lost function or augment biological activity (Hook, 2004).

Featherstone, Mike and Burrows, Roger (2000), Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment, SAGE Publications, London.

Hook, Christopher (2004). Cybernetics. In S. G. Post (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Bioethics (3rd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 533-537). New York: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=griffith&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX3402500123&sid=summon&asid=d7c21cabe4c4ffe236451e37df5af43f

Week 3: Cyberspace


Is cyberspace a place you can physically visit?

The term cyberspace first came to life in the novel by William Gibson called Neuromancer. In this world, the main protagonist, Cas, would visit this world and refer to it as a place, that place being cyberspace.
In another fictional novel Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, his characters face the same world. In this dystopian cyberpunk world the characters enter a Virtual Reality cyberspace called the OASIS, which is virtually like the Matrix.
While they don’t physically go there they enter th e space through the machine and become an extension of themselves (but better because of advanced technology). These technologies are socially shaped but that society is not technologically shaped.
Michael Heim (2011, p.240) explains cyberspace through the user which he describes as a cybernaut. He states that, “the cybernaut seated before us, strapped in sensory input devices, appears to be, and is indeed, lost to this world. Suspended in computer space, the cybernaut leaves the body and emerges in a world of digital sensation.”
While cyberspace isn’t a place that one can physically go to and visit it seems that it is a place of escapism of the mind and mentally people do travel there and stay for a short time.



Gibson, William (1984) Neuromancer, New York City, Ace.
Cline, Ernest (2010) Ready Player One, New York City, Random House.
Lister, Martin et al (2009) New Media: a critical introduction,  London: Routledge, 237-42, 281-3.