Knowing with New Media

Norbert Wiener


Cybernetics: feedback loops

The logic of ripplework is formed in close association with cybernetics.
According to Norbert Wiener (1988), cybernetics is understood as:

[…] a study of the messages and the communication facilities which belong to it […] messages between man and machines, between machines and man […]

It is a purpose of cybernetics to develop a language and techniques that will enable us indeed to attack the problem of control and communication in general, but also to find the proper repertory of ideas and technique to classify their particular manifestations under certain concepts. (p. 16)

Wiener further writes: 'if the information which proceeds backward from the performance is able to change the general method and patterns of performance, we have a process which may well be called learning' (p. 61). From here comes one of the central principles of the process of knowledge acquisition in the Ripples pedagogy –  that is:

the circularity of the recurring feedback loops, described by Wiener as ‘the property of being able to adjust future conduct by past performance’ (p. 32).



What is cybernetics? Watch the video

Norbert Wiener

The originator of Cybernetics

(1894 – 1964)

The theory of control and communication is called Cybernetics, which is formed from the Greek ...
for steersman

In the Ripples learning, new knowledge is communicated through dynamic self-organising control loops:
representing meaning-making.

The experience is articulated through continuous feedback loops between visceral (instinctual and emotional) and somatic (bodily) intelligence.

The feedback mechanism is assembled of opposing aspects—such as:

  •  individual curiosity conventional wisdom
  • far-from-equilibrium self-organisation
  • self-reflectioncollaboration with others
  • human computer logic.

Thereby, the individual knower develops his/her unique set of skills to communicate and control their knowledge production according to his/her personal predispositions and usefulness to the identified problem.



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What is cybernetics? Watch the video

Essential Ripples:

Divergence Convergence

Representing Meaning-making

Stability Plasticity

Chaos Order

Far from Equilibrium Self-organisation

Natural Digital

Individual curiosity Conventional wisdom

Self-reflection Collaboration

Organic Mechanical