What is the definition of the postmodern concept known as cybernetics? Englishman and mathematician Thomas Rid, a professor in the War Studies department at King's College, London, comprehensively documents the history of cybernetics in his book Rise of the Machines. First, though, he discusses the problem of defining cybernetics. It seems like a logical place to start. Logical it may be, but easy it isn't.
Cybernetics is a postmodern concept; it resists attempts to be pigeonholed with one universally accepted definition. It employs the usual suspects, such as self-awareness, great promise, paradox, parody, and a god complex. Stafford Beer, a UK theorist, specialising in management cybernetics, relates a joke which sums up the dilemma of defining cybernetics.