Michael Zargham on Cybernetic Infrastructure

A quickie to capture this link:

Very impressed watching this recorded Web3 Foundation talk by Michael Zargham. He’s a name I came across from making contact with the “Active Inference Lab”. I already know Anatoly Levenchuck and Karl Friston on the AIL Advisory Board and discovered that Zargham is another board member.
(I’m intending to participate in the .edu domain of the AIL.)

The Age of Networks
and the
Rebirth of Cybernetics


      • Very positive non-apology for focussing on many layers of abstraction above the bits & bytes. The essence of systems thinking is knowing what details to ignore in various levels of complex systems.
      • Very familiar recap of the history of Cybernetics starting from Plato (Kybernetes) via the Macy conferences. With “systems thinking” and network architectures front and centre of response to complexity.
      • Being comfortable with circular reasoning (Hofstadter for me). “Second Order” Cybernetics, positive as well as negative feedback loops. Future consequences are causal now. (There is active predictive inference involved – hence AI-Lab.)
      • Attention cost of participation (eg in social government). The more the “infrastructure” can handle invisible processes we don’t have to worry about, the better for us. Transparency is a distraction from what really matters. Noise means we always fall back to lowest common denominators. [See Mental Switching Costs]. What we need to trust is that the design of the decentralised system knows its own limitations.

(And, great to hear someone use that quote “All models are wrong, they simply have a valuable domain of intended use.” 3 decades (!) since I heard Julian Fowler use it.)

Anyway, a new “hero” (with no mention of John Doyle).
Connected on Twitter.


Contrast with this pm’s talk with Iain McGilchrist’s elaboration of his “Sense of the Sacred”. Tremendous audience (and Iain) prejudice against “engineering” and machine language. These two domains just don’t get how close they really are. Same as deep thinking physicists being very close to the same sense of (something) sacred. In the Solms / Friston (bio-psycho) story, the turnaround of Damasio is telling, from the same prejudice against mechanistic algorithms to understanding the human subject involvement.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: