Keynote talk by Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell

The New Cybernetics: reflections on a work in progress?

The theory of Cybernetics first found form in the 1940s and 1950s as a response to the rapid outgrowth of computing technology following World War II. As a field, it fused maths, engineering, and philosophy with biology, psychology, and anthropology, among many others. It was robustly interdisciplinary before that term was in common currency. It theorised an approach to next-generation computational systems that encompassed technology, culture, and the environment.

In this talk, Professor Genevieve Bell explains how we might reinterpret Cybernetics for the 21st century to help us think about how to design and manage complex technological systems at scale, particularly in the context of our changing human, ecological and digital environments. These ideas come together to lay the foundations for the inaugural ANU School of Cybernetics’ mission to re-invigorate cybernetics as an important platform from which to make meaningful change in the world, and to establish a new branch of engineering to take AI safely, responsibly, and sustainably to scale.

Short bio

Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell AO FTSE FAHA is a renowned anthropologist, technologist, and futurist. Genevieve completed her PhD in cultural anthropology at Stanford University in 1998 and is best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development. She is currently the Director of the School of Cybernetics and the 3A Institute (3Ai) at the Australian National University (ANU) and also remains a Vice President and Senior Fellow at Intel Corporation.

Genevieve joined the ANU in 2017 after spending 18 years in Silicon Valley guiding Intel’s product development and social science and user experience research capabilities. In 2017, Genevieve was appointed the inaugural Director of the 3A Institute, co-founded by the ANU and CSIRO’s Data61. The Institute’s mission is to establish a new branch of engineering to responsibly and sustainably scale AI-enabled cyber-physical systems. In 2021, she was appointed Director of the new School of Cybernetics at the ANU, which in addition to housing the 3A Institute, is focused on building capacity in Systems and Design.

Practical info

Digital Society Conference 2021
30 November 2021
13.00 – 13.55 hr
This talk will be in English
To join this keynote talk, please register