ASIMO uses sensors and sophisticated algorithms to avoid obstacles and navigate stairs.

Scientific Fields Related to Cybernetic Systems

Cybernetic Systems

ASIMO uses sensors and sophisticated algorithms to avoid obstacles and navigate stairs.

ASIMO uses sensors and sophisticated algorithms to avoid obstacles and navigate stairs.

Cybernetics studies systems of control as a concept, attempting to discover the basic principles underlying such things as:

In biology

Cybernetics in biology is the study of cybernetic systems present in biological organisms, primarily focusing on how animals adapt to their environment, and how information in the form of genes is passed from generation to generation. There is also a secondary focus on combining artificial systems with biological systems.

In computer science 

Computer science directly applies the concepts of cybernetics to the control of devices and the analysis of information.

In engineering

Cybernetics in engineering is used to analyze cascading failures and System Accidents, in which the small errors and imperfections in a system can generate disasters. Other topics studied include:

In mathematics

Mathematical Cybernetics focuses on the factors of information, interaction of parts in systems, and the structure of systems.

In sociology

By examining group behavior through the lens of cybernetics, sociologists can seek the reasons for such spontaneous events as smart mobs and riots, as well as how communities develop rules such as etiquette by consensus without formal discussion. Affect Control Theory explains role behavior, emotions, and labeling theory in terms of homeostatic maintenance of sentiments associated with cultural categories. The most comprehensive attempt ever made in the social sciences to increase cybernetics in a generalized theory of society was made by Talcott Parsons. In this way, cybernetics establishes the basic hierarchy in Parsons’ AGIL paradigm, which is the ordering system-dimension of his action theory. These and other cybernetic models in sociology are reviewed in a book edited by McClelland and Fararo.

In education

A model of cybernetics in Education was introduced by Gihan Sami Soliman; an educational consultant, as a project idea to be implemented with the help of two team members in Sinai. The Sinai Sustainability Cybernetics Center announced as a semi-finalist project by MIT annual competition 2013. The project idea proposed relating education to sustainable development through an IMS project that applies a multiple educational program related to the original natural self-healing system of life on earth. Education, sustainable development, social justice disciplines interact in a causal circular relationship that education would contribute to the development of the local community in Sinai village, on both sustainability and social responsibility levels while the community itself provides a unique learning environment that will contribute to the development of the educational program in a closed signaling loop.

In art

Nicolas Schöffer’s CYSP I (1956) was perhaps the first artwork to explicitly employ cybernetic principles (CYSP is an acronym that joins the first two letters of the words “CYbernetic” and “SPatiodynamic”). The artist Roy Ascott elaborated an extensive theory of cybernetic art in “Behaviourist Art and the Cybernetic Vision” (Cybernetica, Journal of the International Association for Cybernetics (Namur), Volume IX, No.4, 1966; Volume X No.1, 1967) and in “The Cybernetic Stance: My Process and Purpose” (Leonardo Vol 1, No 2, 1968). Art historian Edward A. Shanken has written about the history of art and cybernetics in essays including “Cybernetics and Art: Cultural Convergence in the 1960s” and “From Cybernetics to Telematics: The Art, Pedagogy, and Theory of Roy Ascott”(2003), which traces the trajectory of Ascott’s work from cybernetic art to telematic art (art using computer networking as its medium, a precursor to

In Earth system science

Geocybernetics aims to study and control the complex co-evolution of ecosphere and anthroposphere, for example, for dealing with planetary problems such as anthropogenic global warming. Geocybernetics applies a dynamical systems perspective to Earth system analysis. It provides a theoretical framework for studying the implications of following different sustainability paradigms on co-evolutionary trajectories of the planetary socio-ecological system to reveal attractors in this system, their stability, resilience and reachability. Concepts such as tipping elements and tipping points in the climate system, planetary boundaries, the safe operating space for humanity and proposals for manipulating Earth system dynamics on a global scale such as geoengineering have been framed in the language of geocybernetic Earth system analysis.

Related fields

Complexity science

Complexity science attempts to understand the nature of complex systems.


Biomechatronics relates to linking mechatronics to biological organisms, leading to systems that conform to A. N. Kolmogorov’s definition of Cybernetics, i.e. “Science concerned with the study of systems of any nature which are capable of receiving, storing and processing information so as to use it for control”. From this perspective mechatronics are considered technical cybernetics or engineering cybernetics.

Further reading

“Cybernetics.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <>.

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