Cybernetics is a discipline or science concerned with control systems in both living things and machines. The core concept of cybernetics is circular causality or feedback control systems – the output of one action is taken as the input of the next.

The word cybernetics was first used by Norbert Wiener in the title of hid 1948 book: Cybernetics – or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Norbert Wiener wrote the book in Mexico city.

"When a steersman moves a rudder, the craft changes course. When the steersman detects that the previous change of course has oversteered, the rudder is moved again, in the opposite direction. The feedback of the steersman’s senses is the controlling element that keeps the craft on course. Wiener intended to embed in the name of the discipline the idea that there is a connection between steering and communication. “The theory of control in engineering, whether human or animal or machine,” he stated, “is a chapter in the theory of messages.” " P. 112, Tools for Thought by Howard Rheingold

The root of word cybernetics, the verb κυβερνάω (kubernáō) (to steer/pilot) in Greek is also the root of the verb to govern. The etymological root of cybernetics and government are the same.

"In a reprint of his 2007 Kybernetes article, Ranulph Glanville establishes design and cybernetics as complementary arms of each other. Presenting cybernetics as a theory for design, and design as cybernetics in practice, Glanville notes that both cybernetics and design imply the same ethical qualities, which stand in contrast to traditional scientific research. Glanville makes the case that scientific research is a subset of design.[1]

See Second-order cybernetics.

Cybernetics is a transdisciplinary and “antidisciplinary” approach concerned with regulatory and purposive systems – their structures, constraints, and possibilities. The core concept of the discipline is circular causality or feedback – that is, where the outcomes of actions are taken as inputs for further action.’[2]


‘Borrowed from Ancient Greek κυβερνητικός (kubernētikós, “good at steering, good pilot”), from κυβερνητική τέχνη (kubernētikḗ tékhnē, “the pilot’s art”), from Ancient Greek κυβερνισμός (kubernismós), κυβέρνησις (kubérnēsis, “steering, pilotage, guiding”), from κυβερνάω (kubernáō, “to steer, to drive, to guide, to act as a pilot”) (which is also ultimately the root of govern as well). The term first recorded in English in 1948.’


See also to navigate which is related (in the context of planning/controlling). From nāvis (‘ship’) + agō (‘do’).



See governance, decentralized web, design, definition.