2–5pm, Project CYBERSYN Symposium
A roundtable discussion with Raul Espejo on Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model and how it can help us democratise the Net today.
This session is recommended for people who are already familiar with the works and ideas of Stafford Beer
7–10pm, Project CYBERSYN Public Lecture
Raul Espejo, Former Operational Director of Project CYBERSYN, in conversation with Paul Cockshott, Scottish computer scientist and reader at the University of Glasgow, chaired by Richard Barbrook, author of Imaginary Futures: from thinking machines to the global village and lecturer at the University of Westminster.
This talk explores the contrast between Stalinist economic management and visions of a bottom-up cybernetic communism.
The Socialist President Salvador Allende was elected to power in Chile in 1970, and embarked upon a series of radical reforms to Chilean society and the economy. As an alternative to a Soviet style centrally planned economy, Allende’s government instead looked for another route through which to replace the market.
At the heart of this strategy was Project CYBERSYN, a prototype internet system designed to link together the needs of the economy via a cybernetic ‘central nervous system’ devised by British cyberneticist, Stafford Beer.
Building on the insights of Norbert Wiener, the founding father of cybernetics, Stafford’s vision entailed a radical experiment in grass-roots networking. Aiming to directly involve workers at all levels of production and distribution in the organic management of the economy, Project CYBERSYN reached an advanced prototype stage before the network’s destruction in the military coup led by Augusto Pinochet on September 11 1973.
Raul Espejo – Former Operational Director of Project CYBERSYN. Currently he is Director-General of the World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics, Director of Syncho Ltd, and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Santiago.
Paul Cockshott – Computer scientist and reader at Glasgow University.
Richard Barbrook – Senior Lecturer, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster and author, Imaginary Futures: thinking machines to the global village.
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