UNLOCKED: Overtime Episode 35 – Cybernetics and Labor – Pt 1

This week was a exciting but busy one with all of us getting together to celebrate Lina’s wedding, which unfortunately made it impossible to put together the regular episode. So we’ve decided to unlock the first episode in our new series on the history of the field of cybernetics and how the labor movement has interacted with it. It’s been a super fascinating topic learning about figures like Norbert Wiener, Ross Ashby, and Stafford Beer, so we hope you like this unlocked episode as just the first portion of what we’ve been covering. Our Cybernetics series will continue for patrons later this week and our weekly labor news rundown will be back at our regularly scheduled time next Tuesday!

Thank you so much for listening, we couldn’t do the show without you!

Original Description:

We’re very excited this week to be starting our long awaited series discussing the history of the field of cybernetics and how it intersects with the labor movement. In this first part, John explains the life and work of polymath and founder of the study of cybernetics, Norbert Wiener. We discuss the parallels between Wiener’s thinking and Marxism, the ways that his conception of cybernetics requires a dialectical outlook at the world, and how the systems theory approach of cybernetics can help us understand complex events, including in the realm of politics and organizing. Next week, we will continue with the second half of our discussions on Norbert Wiener, including his relationship with the UAW.


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