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UCD-STAFFORDBEER  March 2007

UCD-STAFFORDBEER March 2007

Subject:

Re: Cybernetics and Safety

From:

allenna leonard <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 23 Mar 2007 06:41:51 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (282 lines)

Dear All,

Quite a few good points have already been raised but
here are a some related ones:

On the notion of three... Ontario Social Services
targets client families with new babies on the basis
of how many difficulties/risk factors they are trying
to cope with at once.  Their guidelines suggest that
most families can cope with one difficulty (i.e.
poverty, or unemployment) but that a much smaller
proportion can cope with two and almost all collapse
in the face of three difficulty.  Of course these
difficulties are linked...poverty may be associated
with driving an undependable car that might break down
and make you late for work leading to your becoming
unemployed...

The analysis of many areas of loss of control (I'd
include fraud and error in here too) is characterized
by multiple red flags.  Stafford used to tell a story
(from Heinz von Foerster) that Ashby rushed into
Heinz's office in triumph a few weeks after the New
York City power black-out to show the  picture he had
predicted of  THE CAUSE - a defective relay switch. 
Much the same happened a few years ago with another
Northease blackout.  This time THE CAUSE was a tree
that fell on a wire in Ohio.  A more complete picture
was provided by the amounts by which the utility
company had reduced its maintenance budget which was a
multiple of the millions they had contributed to the
Bush Administration and Republican candidates.

Another point that Ashby made was in a letter
reprinted in "Mechanisms of Intelligence".  It is that
to promote any desired variable above all others is
asking for trouble because it encourages people to
ignore or orverride the negative feedback messages
that usually do arrive.  Thus trying to avoid delay
has been a factor in many airline crashes, where
without that overriding variable, a take-off would
have been postponed or a landing aborted.

Finally, I'd like to mention a publication of the
Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants called
"Learning about Risk".  It includes seven models of
risk including:

leadership
strategic choices 
operationa and control risk
resiliance/capacity building
crisis choices
intuition and, finally,
the decision to be aware.

Note that only one - operational and control risk -
falls under the popular conception of risk.  The other
six necessarily flow on all the communications
channels of a viable system and originate, as Javier
says, in identity.

Allenna



--- Stefan Wasilewski <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Happy to discuss, but this is an ongoing thought
> with me too.
> 
> I'm in the middle of preparing a transfer of a paper
> to a wikiplace  
> [it's a fantastic find] on my thoughts in the
> financial world much of  
> which is derived from this discussion.
> 
> If you can bare the wait I'll answer the questions
> below over the  
> next week or so as business is getting frantic.
> 
> Stefan
> On 23 Mar 2007, at 08:16, Arthur Dijkstra wrote:
> 
> > Hi Stefan,
> >
> > Sorry, but I can follow your remarks. I googled
> Watts and Wolfram  
> > and got into a realm that is unfamiliar to me. But
> this might be  
> > very interesting so I would like to follow up on
> you, hoping you  
> > don’t get upset by these ‘primitive’ questions.
> >
> > -          In St Gallen Markus Schwaninger
> discussed the fractal  
> > dimension of 2.2. When you talk about 3 degrees of
> freedom OR less  
> > do you mean the same as Markus ?
> >
> > -          Can you give any clue on how to
> calculate the dimension  
> > of an accident ? What would that mean in practical
> terms ?
> >
> > -          Your remark on control parameters got
> my direct  
> > attention. Can you please elaborate a bit more on
> that sentence ?
> >
> >
> >
> > Thanks for taking the time to educate such an
> ignorant pilot.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Arthur
> >
> >
> >
> > Van: Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer
> [mailto:UCD- 
> > [log in to unmask]] Namens Stefan
> Wasilewski
> > Verzonden: donderdag 22 maart 2007 20:59
> > Aan: [log in to unmask]
> > Onderwerp: Re: Cybernetics and Safety
> >
> >
> >
> > Hi Arthur
> >
> >
> >
> > No, I don't have it on paper, it was a long
> discussion long before  
> > Watts or their contemporaries had announced
> anything.
> >
> >
> >
> > Yes, I do mean 3-degrees of freedom OR LESS!
> because this is a  
> > fractal world and the rules need to be looked at
> carefully.
> >
> >
> >
> > There are more issues behind the thoughts here
> because the  
> > communication  being discussed  between the
> system's elements  
> > [inherent in Stafford's work] show a common
> functional form within  
> > which control parameters can be easily created.
> The problem as I  
> > see it is we are not looking at the VSM as a rule
> based/automata  
> > structure and when you do [linking it with
> Wolfrman's work - NKS]  
> > you will find a common set of fractal spaces.
> >
> >
> >
> > This is intuitively correct but let's find the
> proof!
> >
> >
> >
> > warm regards
> >
> >
> >
> > Stefan
> >
> > On 22 Mar 2007, at 15:02, Arthur Dijkstra wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Stefan,
> >
> > Do you have that discussion on paper ?
> >
> > Do you mean “It turns out that when you put
> critical systems  
> > together in a network the average is about 3  “ 3
> degrees of freedom ?
> >
> >
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Arthur
> >
> >
> >
> > Van: Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer
> [mailto:UCD- 
> > [log in to unmask]] Namens Stefan
> Wasilewski
> > Verzonden: donderdag 22 maart 2007 12:58
> > Aan: [log in to unmask]
> > Onderwerp: Re: Cybernetics and Safety
> >
> >
> >
> > Arthur [and Angela]
> >
> >
> >
> > You might be interested in a conversation I have
> with Frank Turner  
> > [ex-MD BMI Engineering Section] some years ago
> where we discussed  
> > how many degrees of freedom there were in many
> accidents.
> >
> >
> >
> > It turns out that when you put critical systems
> together in a  
> > network the average is about 3 and ties in well
> with Watts/Strogats  
> > work in Networks as a whole.
> >
> >
> >
> > One example was the lesson learned in design which
> show many early  
> > accidents on German planes could be linked to
> harmonic resonance  
> > between the engines that would have been picked up
> if a causal net  
> > had been done.
> >
> >
> >
> > Just a thought.
> >
> >
> >
> > Stefan
> >
> > On 22 Mar 2007, at 11:43, Arthur Dijkstra wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Steve and others,
> >
> > Thanks for your replies. To let you into my world
> of aviation  
> > safety and to show current safety (accident) cases
> are dealt with I  
> > have included some parts of a accident report.
> This shows my field  
> > of application. Here you can find the whole
> report: http:// 
> > sunnyday.mit.edu/accidents/calirep.html
> >
> > Beneath you find the causal attribution.
> Interesting to see are the  
> > recommendations (see the full report). There you
> see that many  
> > organisational processes (tasks) need to be
> adapted to prevent a  
> 
=== message truncated ===



 
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