AI won't save us but cybernetics can.

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Renowned Chinese economist Lu Quan recently claimed that the United States has four years to avert a major political, social and financial crisis. It must do at least one of three things: implement structural political reforms; preventing the dollar from losing its role as the global reserve currency; Or create a new wave of artificial intelligence (AI)-driven economic growth.

If Luo Quan is right, the US faces a difficult task. Structural reforms of the US political system will face strong opposition from America's corporate and financial institutions, which are the main beneficiaries and sponsors of the current political system. They are firmly in control of the national media and entrenched in the national bureaucracy.

Maintaining the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency will also be an uphill battle, all the more so since the West blocked Russia from the global financial system. The extrajudicial weaponization of the dollar system frightened the rest of the world and had the opposite effect. De-dollarization has become a global buzz.

A third option, AI-driven phenomenal productivity growth, also faces major hurdles. The world is in a generational transition from the third to the fourth industrial revolution. The US started the third industrial revolution – the ICT and Internet revolution – but China is poised to lead the fourth industrial revolution.

China is leading the real deployment of AI.

Industry 4.0 is the combination of digital, biological, and physical technologies and the widespread deployment of AI, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and the Internet of Things (IoT). As the world's factory, China makes almost all the hardware required for Industry 4.0 and has the necessary infrastructure.

Mystical aura, vague feelings

AI still has a mystical aura. The general public, especially in the West, has mixed feelings about AI. Many fear that AI will lead to a loss of privacy. Others believe that AI will be monopolized by a handful of tech companies, while experts have argued that AI could surpass human intelligence and pose an existential threat to humanity.

More serious concerns about AI can be traced back to science (cyber)fiction. Some cyberfiction depicts AI as a global mind with a mind of its own and evil intentions: to take over the world, enslave humanity, or even worse – exterminate humans. It is never clear which company, country or other entity will or can create an AI system that can take over the entire world.

Moreover, AI alarmists ignore the fact that AI systems operate in clearly defined areas. They are designed to perform specific tasks in a specific domain. An AI system designed for a self-driving vehicle cannot analyze medical X-rays or play chess. No car manufacturer is going to build a self-driving car with its own mind.

AI is not only domain-specific, but also culture-specific. When we ask big language models (LLM) like ChatGPT and its Chinese counterpart ERNIE to list the most important philosophers in history, or what is the best economic system for the 21st century, we get two very different answers. Any LLM will reflect the worldview of its creators.

AI looks less complicated when viewed as a subset of cybernetics, the first comprehensive theory for binary computing developed in the 1940s. AI is built on the same (binary-boolean) platform as cybernetics. It is technically a form of cybernetics with self-learning algorithms and can be called cybernetics 2.0.

The first generation of computers were analog machines. They performed calculations using continuous variations in electric current rather than discrete binary values. Improvements in circuit technology in the 1940s made binary computing possible, and most computer scientists agreed that binary systems were more stable and easier to program.

In the 1940s, American scientist Norbert Wiener developed a theoretical framework for binary computing, which he called cybernetics. Weiner showed that binary computers are ideal for the control or regulation of complex systems using binary choices (yes or no) and Boolean logic (IF/THEN/AND/OR, etc.).

Feedback plays an important role in cybernetic systems.

A textbook example of a cybernetic system is the autopilot used in airplanes. Using Boolean operators, the autopilot guides the aircraft from A to B within parameters set by the navigator. If the aircraft encounters strong winds, the autopilot initiates a course correction. If it encounters a speed bump, it can rev the engines to stay on schedule.

Cybernetic theory played an important role in the development of automation and other production technologies after WWII. It enabled engineers to model complex systems, predict their behavior and develop control strategies for efficiency and reliability. Cybernetics also provided the theoretical framework for modern robotics.

In the 1950s, the humanities embraced cybernetics. Among others, it was used to study social systems, organizations and management processes. Cybernetics provides tools for decision making, organizational behavior, management science and systems thinking.

The cybernetic method is based on three steps: plan, quantify and steer. The plan defines the goal or destination. Quantification determines the required resources. And steering, using a feedback mechanism, guides the system to its destination. This method can be applied to any system, whether on autopilot, factory or across the country.

Cybernetics is an interdisciplinary science. AI will help end the age of specialization.

Norbert Wiener called this new science cybernetics to express its primary function: steering. The word cybernetics is derived from Greek. kybernētēswhich means “I drive, drive, guide, act as a pilot.”

Plato used this word for the captain of a ship. (The rudder of a ship was the first human use of a causal feedback mechanism.) Latin corruption, Governoris the root of the modern word government or to govern.

Cybernetics spread into the social, political and economic spheres as well. The five- and ten-year plans used in socialist countries after WWII were informed by cybernetic principles. They had mixed success, but long-term planning practices continued even after China liberalized its market in the 1970s.

Deng Xiaoping's first five-year plan called for laying the foundation for industrialization, infrastructure development, and agricultural modernization. The goal was to transform China from an agricultural economy to an industrialized one.

The current five-year plan under the leadership of Xi Jinping also sets clear goals. Among others, it calls for a society in which no one is poor and everyone has access to education, paid employment, adequate food and clothing, access to medical services, old age support, housing and rest. Have a good life.

Planning is indispensable for China. The country is facing severe population decline. A shrinking youth population must provide physical and financial care for a growing elderly population. Industry 4.0 technology has to come to the rescue.

In Industry 4.0, humans meet technology halfway.

Cybernetics is an interdisciplinary science. It offers a framework for all aspects of human development – social, environmental, political, and technological, even psychological and philosophical. Moreover, cybernetics is neutral, political, universal and based on binary logic.

The only thing cybernetics requires is a plan. Without planning, as Plato pointed out, society is like a ship at sea with no destination, captain or rudder. Cybernetics requires us to state our intentions, allocate the necessary resources, and choose reliable navigators.

The primacy of the project explains the main difference between cybernetics and AI. In the cybernetics framework, AI is “just” a tool in the larger context. It can help us navigate more efficiently to our destination, but it cannot make a plan. Only humans can plan and create a consensus about the destination.

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Chinese economist Lu has argued in his advice to the US government that the US urgently needs a plan. The country has traded places with China over the past 40 years. China Industrial; America was industrialized. Millions of Chinese joined the middle class while millions of Americans fell out of the middle class. China had a plan. America did not.

America's fate is a global concern. Without dealing with its debt, America faces fiscal death. Interest payments on national debt have become the largest item in the national budget. Unless the country embarks on tough and painful reforms, the cost of servicing the debt could exceed all other government spending.

Economists claim that a country that is able to print its own money can never go bankrupt. This may be technically correct but it does not explain why a country that can print its own money has to borrow US$34 trillion to fund its government. A growing alliance between BRICS and the collapse of the dollar will put this paradoxical system to the test.

Global debt is now approaching $300 trillion, or more than 235% of global GDP, the highest since the Napoleonic Wars. Every country in the world will be affected by the implementation of the dollar, which will mean the implementation of a global fiat system. The world will need skilled navigators to get out of the debt crisis.

New thinking

The term cybernetics was first used by André Marie in a modern political context. Ampère, French scientist and philosopher who discovered electromagnetism. Ampère, who also studied social and political systems, argued that “the science of future governance must be called cybernetics.”

Physicist Bruce Lindsay, author of the 1970 paper “The Larger Cybernetics,” speculated on Ampere's reasoning for using the term cybernetics. He wrote:

“It was in this memoir that Ampère first introduced the term cybernetics to refer to the science of government. He evidently felt it was an appropriate term because κγβερντεσ is Greek for helmsman or governor, the ship. Controls the direction of

“This may be considered the beginning of formal recognition of the science of control, although Ampere's definition does not seem to have gained much attention in the nineteenth century, or for that matter in our own century, until Norbert Wiener A book called Cybernetics, published in 1948, revived the term and attempted to present the subject on a more formal basis.

Empire may have influenced the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, who studied the human relationship to technology (he spoke of “technicity.”) In a 1966 interview with the magazine Der Spiegel, Heidegger argued Given that European philosophy was ill-equipped to deal with technological change, Friedrich Nietzsche's nihilism culminated. Asked what came after philosophy, Heidegger replied: “Cybernetics.”

Heidegger described cybernetics as “another kind of thinking”, adding: “The way of thinking about traditional metaphysics that reached its period with Nietzsche, no longer experienced the fundamental thrust of the technological age in thought. Does not offer a possibility that is just beginning.”

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