Enter to: Cyber age

Definition: Cyber Age

”Cyber Age is the era marked by the development and widespread use of virtual reality or the Internet.”

Modeling and systems thinking also form virtual models. All those principles support each other and IT. IT creates models for any discipline.

Towards a Unified Theory for Systems

Systems engineering is planning systems. One goal of that society is to define what is common in all systems and the study in general (von Bertalanffy: General Systems Theory).

Fig 1: The Unified Theory for Systems (Hitchins).

Viable System Theory

Viable System Theory is the most essential theory of cybernetics. Concepts studied by cyberneticists include, but are not limited to: learning, cognition, adaptation, social control, emergence, convergence, communication, efficiency, efficacy, and connectivity. In cybernetics these concepts are abstracted from the context of the specific organism or device.

”Viable system theory (VST) concerns cybernetic processes in relation to the development/evolution of dynamic systems. They are considered to be living systems in the sense that they are complex and adaptive, can learn, and are capable of maintaining an autonomous existence, at least within the confines of their constraints. These attributes involve the maintenance of internal stability through adaptation to changing environments.

The viable system model (VSM) is a model of the organisational structure of any autonomous system capable of producing itself. A viable system is any system organised in such a way as to meet the demands of surviving in the changing environment. One of the prime features of systems that survive is that they are adaptable. The VSM expresses a model for a viable system, which is an abstracted cybernetic (regulation theory) description that is applicable to any organisation that is a viable system and capable of autonomy.”

Cybernetics is a candidate as a theory for how to survive from chaos of modern life

Since the Macy conferences (1940-1953) the best cybernetists have tried to create a cybernetic machine to combine skills and knowledge of all disciplines. Nowadays we are closer to that aim than ever, due to technology. We only need cognitive models to understand better the models, as well as will from persons. The challenges are named: the VUCA world and the sixth Kondratieff wave.

Fig 1. Viable system presented as a cognitive model for society (Hitschin).

Revolutionary benefits caused by cybernetics are:

  • Independency of the object to execute
  • Atomisticity
  • General holism
  • Limitless
  • Possiblities for transformation, to find correspondencies
  • Rapid integration
  • Fast innovations
  • Efficient diagnostics by means of viable system models
  • Systemic approach and meta-thinking to plan implementations and to maintain them


Beer’s Model

A widely accepted model for cybernetics is Beer’s Viable System Model with its 5 levels (Fig 2):

  • (1) System 1. Management of a basic subsystem.
    (2) System 2. Coordination of subsystems, attenuation of oscillations between them.
    (3) System 3. Operative management of a collective of subsystems.
    (4) System 3*. Auditing and monitoring channel.
    (5) System 4. Management for the long term, relationships with the overall
    (6) System 5. Normative management, corporate ethos.

Management and cybernetics

Fig 2: Levels of Viable System Model.

 Cybernetics defines skills and control and conditions for systems

”Cybernetics is a professional level metatheory for diagnostics!”

Fig 3: Cybernetics is a move from traditional age in marketing, sales, production.

Design for viable organizations: The diagnostic power of the viable system model by Markus Schwaninger (link).