Preprint Concept Paper Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Problems with Abstract Observers and Advantages of a Model-Centric Paradigm

Version 1 : Received: 13 February 2022 / Approved: 17 February 2022 / Online: 17 February 2022 (10:45:33 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Ashby, M. Problems with Abstract Observers and Advantages of a Model-Centric Cybernetics Paradigm. Systems 2022, 10, 53. Ashby, M. Problems with Abstract Observers and Advantages of a Model-Centric Cybernetics Paradigm. Systems 2022, 10, 53.

Journal reference: Systems 2022, 10, 53
DOI: 10.3390/systems10030053

Abstract

Since 1974, when Heinz von Foerster made the distinction between “the cybernetics of observed systems” as first-order cybernetics (1oC) and “the cybernetics of observing systems” as second-order cybernetics (2oC), cybernetics has been dominated by this observer-centric paradigm that he claimed cannot be extended meaningfully to a third-order. Rather than attempting to extend his paradigm, we derive an alternative, model-centric paradigm from first principles of regulation that naturally extends to three orders, where the third order is ethical regulation. We thus consider a type of regulator that requires a third model and a third observer: If the third model is a model of acceptable (ethical) situations, then a third observer is a necessary element of the system’s “conscience” that prevents or detects any violations of the model of ethical situations. In this paradigm, the cybernetics of systems that are designed to exhibit ethical behaviour can be characterized as third-order cybernetics (3oC). By being able to extend the paradigm to include ethical systems, the model-centric paradigm brings clarity and utility that is not possible using the philosopher-friendly observer-centric paradigm and its under-specified (abstract) observers. Finally new definitions for cybernetics are proposed that clearly differentiate between the science and the philosophy, of cybernetics.

Keywords

ethical robots; ethical artificial intelligence; ethical cybernetics; third-order cybernetics; philosophy of cybernetics; empathy; sapientocracy

Subject

MATHEMATICS & COMPUTER SCIENCE, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

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