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Cybernetics is a transdisciplinary<ref name=transdisciplinary>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> approach for exploring regulatory systems, their structures, constraints, and possibilities. In the 21st century, the term is often used in a rather loose way to imply "control of any system using technology;" this has blunted its meaning to such an extent that many writers avoid using it.

Cybernetics is relevant to the study of systems, such as mechanical, physical, biological, cognitive, and social systems. Cybernetics is applicable when a system being analyzed incorporates a closed signaling loop; that is, where action by the system generates some change in its environment and that change is reflected in that system in some manner (feedback) that triggers a system change, originally referred to as a "circular causal" relationship.

System dynamics, a related field, originated with applications of electrical engineering control theory to other kinds of simulation models (especially business systems) by Jay Forrester at MIT in the 1950s.

Concepts studied by cyberneticists include, but are not limited to: learning, cognition, adaptation, social control, emergence, communication, efficiency, efficacy, and connectivity. These concepts are studied by other subjects such as engineering and biology, but in cybernetics these are abstracted from the context of the individual organism or device.

Norbert Wiener defined cybernetics in 1948 as "the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine."<ref name=W1948>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> The word cybernetics comes from Greek κυβερνητική (kybernetike), meaning "governance", i.e., all that are pertinent to κυβερνάω (kybernao), the latter meaning "to steer, navigate or govern", hence κυβέρνησις (kybernesis), meaning "government", is the government while κυβερνήτης (kybernetes) is the governor or the captain. Contemporary cybernetics began as an interdisciplinary study connecting the fields of control systems, electrical network theory, mechanical engineering, logic modeling, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, and psychology in the 1940s, often attributed to the Macy Conferences. During the second half of the 20th century cybernetics evolved in ways that distinguish first-order cybernetics (about observed systems) from second-order cybernetics (about observing systems).<ref name=HvF1981>Heinz von Foerster (1981), 'Observing Systems", Intersystems Publications, Seaside, CA. OCLC 263576422</ref> More recently there is talk about a third-order cybernetics (doing in ways that embraces first and second-order).<ref name="3rd--order cybernetics">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>

Fields of study which have influenced or been influenced by cybernetics include game theory, system theory (a mathematical counterpart to cybernetics), perceptual control theory, sociology, psychology (especially neuropsychology, behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology), philosophy, architecture, and organizational theory.<ref>Tange, Kenzo (1966) "Function, Structure and Symbol".</ref>


Cybernetics sections
Intro   Definitions    Etymology   History  Subdivisions of the field  Related fields   See also   References   Further reading   External links  

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