Cybernetics and Generic System Modeling

With the increasing digitalization of the workplace and the private environment, holistic approaches are becoming more important in order to be able to optimally integrate and serve human beings. Our work focuses on modeling for human-centered systems, where human and machine form an adaptive learning organization and work together to achieve their common goals. Here, humans are handled as holistic and even spiritual beings and forming a human-machine symbiosis. From this holistic and systemic standpoint, we propose several design principles for human-centered systems that ensure human dignity and integrity, i.e. to not be harmed, enslaved, reduced, etc. In a concrete prototype design addressing smart industrial machines, we show how these principles can be applied and what their implications are.

Some Streams of Systemic Thought

In terms of systems thinking, an extensive map of related work and their influences is presented by the International Institute for General Systems Studies (IIGSS, 2001). This map was originated by E. Schwarz in 1996. It includes the influences of researchers in the domains of mathematics, physics, computer science, engineering, cybernetics, systemics, biology, ecology, sociology and philosophy fromancient times to the present.

With the permission of Jeffrey Yi-Lin Forrest (director of IIGSS), we update the map and add recent work in the field of cybernetics, systemics and coordination. Because the latest source files of that map are missing, we completely redraw it. We choose graphml, an open source format for graph design.

Map of sytemic sciences

Legend of Map

The map encompasses different nodes and edges. The nodes denote topics, such as scientific work or research areas. Major influences between the topics are illustrated by directed edges. The map uses a color-code to show the major scientific realm of nodes and edges:

  • white: general system
  • red: cybernetics
  • black: physical sciences
  • blue: mathematics
  • dark red: computers & informatics
  • green: biology & medicine
  • yellow: symbolic systems
  • orange: social systems
  • light green: ecology
  • gray: philosophy
  • cyan: systems analysis
  • purple: engineering
Following list illustrates the origin and updates from the map.
  • Originated in 1996 by Dr. Eric Schwarz, Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
  • Extended in 1998, including items from the "The Story of Philosophy" by Will Durant (1933).
  • Elaborated in 2000-2001 from many sources for the International Institute for General Systems Studies.
  • Extended in 2016 by Benjamin Hadorn, Fribourg, Switzerland.

Your contribution: Feel free to extend and correct the graph. Please send an updated version to us in order to keep a current version online.