Running Head: UNDERSTANDING THE FUTURE BY LOOKING AT THE PAST

pantgrievousAI and Robotics

Nov 30, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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Running Head: UNDERSTANDING THE FUTURE BY LOOKING AT THE PAST



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Understanding the Future by Looking at the Past

Jamie Smith

University of Advancing Technology

HCI310




UNDERSTANDING THE FUTURE BY LOOKING AT THE PAST



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Abstract

Looking at how the world functions in today’s time is homage to the way things have functioned
in the past. From the way we write out
thoughts down in digital format on a tablet to the way we
have governments run by officials elected by the people they govern, we have systems in place
that have learned from the systems of old. Historical links to cybernetics can be found running
all the
way back to the beginning of recorded history.
How did we come to know that dragging a
substance across another would leave a mark or that the electrical impulses of a human eye could
control a delicate mechanical device to allow the blind to see again? Th
e answer this query could
be determined as cybernetics.
Cybernetics is a very broad field that looks to understand and
study the control systems that are present all around us. Wearable technologies that can range
from a pencil to an integrated bionic eye
and the interface design
s

accompanying them such as
putting the pencil to paper to make
drawings appear or the natural anatomy of the eye’s retina
nerves to control the focus of the bionic eye, we have gotten to these great accomplishments by
using cyberne
tics throughout history
.


Keywords:

historical links, cybernetics, wearable, interface design

UNDERSTANDING THE FUTURE BY LOOKING AT THE PAST



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Throughout history we have seen that some things work and some things do not. When
we are brought to question why something doesn’t work, we are often question
ing the control
systems involved. This means looking at the cybernetics side of the problem. Cybernetics is the
study of control systems and stems through many different fields applying to every aspect of our
lives. When Aristotle posed
questions about the

questioners, what he did is to question the
cybernetics of everything. He sought to invoke deeper thought processes that caused one to
question why they were asking the question. If we look at this from a cybernetics perspective,
Aristotle sought to query

into the very core of cybernetics and question the control systems of
everything around us from why is the sky blue to why do we have government. Questions are a
core piece of what makes knowledge possible and cybernetics is the questioning of the rules o
f
virtually everything. The answers to questions are knowledge in the most fundamental sense and
we build on this knowledge gained through the
millennia to create both wondrous and terrible
things.


Consider government as an intricate example of cybernetic
s at work. Different countries
have
questioned their systems of control in unique manners to create a variety of governments.
When there was a strong dispute of government control over religion, a group of puritans broke
away from their monarchy and travel
ed to a new land to begin establishing a new type of
government in which the people had control over the controllers. This new establishment was
known as America and after years of trial and error, working out the kinks in their design, the
United States n
ow stands as a foremost superpower in the world. This idea of people led
government was not entirely new though. In the old days of the Roman Empire, there existed the
senate which was comprised of elected official to act as the people’s voice and exert so
me level
UNDERSTANDING THE FUTURE BY LOOKING AT THE PAST



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of control over the way the populous was treated. If we had not had this historical link to people
run government the idea may have taken centuries longer to establish and
may have allowed the
U.S. to miss the timeframe of events which allowed thi
s fledgling country to quickly evolve into
one of the most diverse and powerful countries in the world.

History plays a vital role in our evaluation of the cybernetics of everyday life. We do not
attempt to build a vehicle with square wheels because we ta
ke for granted that it is common
knowledge that the circle rolls better along surfaces. If we did not understand the cybernetics
surrounding the laws of physics, a square wheeled vehicle may appear a valid idea as the vehicle
may just float about. Things s
uch as gravity and friction make this idea ludicrous based on our
teachings of

the previous ages of knowledge, and in this way it becomes obvious how important
these historical links to cybernetics are. If we wish to know what time it is, we can simply loo
k
down at a watch and be comforted with the knowledge that we know how much daylight may be
left on a particular day. How are we able to look at piece of technology and find solace in the
information we can infer from a simple set of numbers or hands on a
dial? This comfort comes
from the fact that we use this system every day, and that someone who understood the
importance of the solar based time system designed it. The person who designed the timepiece
may have understood that this system is important but

how did they know it worked? They
didn’t

even

have to

fully underst
an
d th
at,

centuries ago, Copernicus hypothesized that the earth rotated
around the sun in a calculable fashion, but they worked their design based on the knowledge that
has been accumulate
d over the time of man. This long chain of knowledge and ideas based on
previously gained knowledge and idea is
another important piece of cybernetics. Cybernetics can
also be seen as a
n

understanding that
the systems of control that we study are based on
previous
ly

gained
knowledge.

UNDERSTANDING THE FUTURE BY LOOKING AT THE PAST



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If we neglect the past how will we be able to understand the future? The answer is
simple, we cannot. Human advancement in intricately tied to the past and understanding
its gained knowledge
. This knowledge of our past successe
s and failures is a

key

component

to creating effi
cient and innovative
future
designs.