Meeting Papers 2005-2006

Anthony Booth "Big Rabbit from a Small Hat: Quantum Prestidigitation in a Wave Model"

Anthony Booth discussed his zero d'Alembertian continuum model which produces the Klein-Gordon or Schrödinger equations from a noise flux of de Broglie waves. More.

September 26th. 2005

Nick Green "Pask's Last Theorem: Like concepts repel unlike concepts attract"

Pask concepts are closed, recursively packed, circular, coherent spin processes to any depth in any medium plasma, gas, liquid or solid. They are persisting processes: Pask saw this later work as a process theory with an emphasis on ease of application. The theorem can be applied to account for self-organisation, evolution and learning. It eventually produces thought in brains. Pask asserted the theorem applies for all forces. It is central to his kinetic eternal Interactions of Actors Theory which acts as a support to his earlier kinematic Conversation Theory, a "permissive" theory of epistemology, bounded by beginnings and endings. The "permissive" condition is reached from a dynamic equilibrium of imperative forces producing begins and ends.

Since a solution to Einstein's unified field problem was implied further work was delayed until Osborne and Pope proposed an angular momentum approach to unifying gravitational and electromagnetic force which found that "like spins repel" and "unlike spins attract". It seems possible a descrption of the weak and strong nuclear force can be produced in the same way. There is a brief introduction to Pask's later work here.

Nick discussed with the Society recent work on reducing risk in medical diagnosis (for the Patient Public Involvement Organisation) and a proposal for Viable System monitoring of world citizen-owned record of agreements and contracts (with the Real Time Study Group and Metaphorum).

Power point slides from the talk:

October 31st. 2005

Professor Jack Cohen "The Appearance of Design"

Dr. David Dewhurst, secretary of the Society, writes: The title of Jack Cohen's talk is that of his next book. Jack Cohen DSc, F.I.Biol is Honorary Professor at The Mathematics Institute; Ecology and Epidemiology Group; Warwick University. His most recent book is "Darwin's Watch" in collaboration with Ian Stewart (Prof Maths Warwick) and Terry Pratchett (Discworld author). He also co-wrote with them "The Science of Discworld" I, II and III.

He has written over a hundred papers in his field of reproductive biology and numerous specialist and popular science books; including -"The Biology of Reproduction", "Living Embryos", "Animal Reproduction: Parents making parents", "Sperms, Antibodies and infertility", "The privileged ape", "Stop working and start thinking" (with G Medley); and with Ian Stewart - "The Collapse of Chaos", "Figments of Reality", "Evolving the Alien", "Wheelers" (sci fi) and "Heaven" (sci fi).

He has assisted many top-rated science fiction authors with the design of aliens and alien ecologies. Nobel prize winning biologist Sir Paul Nurse writes, "I had an eccentric zoology tutor Jack Cohen who was hugely stimulating and entertaining... He taught me the value of the alternative view."

This poster announces Professor Cohen's talk.

28th. November 2005

Dr William Pratt "Cybernetics and Education"

Education underpins all aspects of everyday life whether it is a long and healthy life, economic well being, spiritual, intellectual or cultural. The education system determines the number and quality of doctors and nurses; it also determines the skills of the workforce and hence the quality of the product produced by the economic system; and the ability of citizens who to understand and make decisions on complex issues. Above all education is something that everyone has experienced or endured and in which everyone considers him or herself an expert.

For the last century the search has been for a high quality education system from which everyone can benefit according to his or her abilities and talents – ‘education for the masses’.

With the advances in information and communication technology (ICT) comes the possibility which can education can be tailored so that it can meet the needs of all students. Cybernetics, with its multidisciplinary approach and contributions both to the development of ICT and the understanding of the way the brain processes information, is in a unique position to generate the insights needed to turn this possibility into reality.

The talk will look at the present state of education from the point of a practitioner, examine present trends and project them to see their implications for the future of education.

30th January 2006

Dr Shann Turnbull "Using cybernetics to evaluate and design social organizations"

Dr Turnbull at the SocietyCommand and control hierarchies are the dominant communication and control architecture of organizations in the advanced societies. These are not found in nature as they are inconsistent with cybernetic laws identified by Von Neumann, Shannon and Ashby. The network of nested network firms found around the Spanish town of Mondragon are used to illustrate how requisite variety of communications and control provide sustainable competitive advantages and how their architecture represents a continuum of the holonic architecture of nature.

Shann Turnbull, Dip. Elec. Eng. (Hobart), BSc (Melbourne), MBA (Harvard), PhD (Macquarie) began work as an electrical engineer for the Hydro- electric Commission of Tasmania. He participated in the re-organisation of a dozen listed Australian companies as a shareholder/chairman and/or CEO from 1967 to 1974. He has founded a number of businesses, three of which became listed in Australia. He became a founding author in 1975 of the first educational qualification in the world for company directors and used his PhD research to create an MBA course for designing governance systems in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

A Google search of "Shann Turnbull" shows that he has written extensively on economic reform

Papers by Dr Shann Turnbull.

27th February 2006

Dr Bernard Scott and Dr Simon Shurville "What is a symbol?"

Our central question “what is a symbol?” has a famous antecedent in Warren McCulloch’s (1961) enquiry, “What is a number that a man may know it, and a man, that he may know a number?” In this presentation we consider the extent to which the dominant post-war computational paradigms made progress with this question. We argue that the ‘symbolic’ and ‘sub-symbolic’ approaches of artificial intelligence / cognitive science were misconceived and have therefore inevitably stalled. Tragically, we observe, a good deal of the post-war progress that was made with such questions through first and second order cybernetics and its sister disciplines (Heims, 1993; Conway and Siegelman, 2004) was lost to mainstream cognitive science and philosophy because of the ‘triumph’ of the dominant paradigm (Gardner, 1987). Although this paradigm, which holds that computation / symbol processing is the necessary and sufficient condition for intelligence (Newell and Simon, 1976), dominated post-war discourse, it was not without critics. John Searle, for example, was an ever present thorn to the computational orthodoxy via his Chinese Room argument (Searle, 1980). In the early 1990s questions about how to ground symbols in anything other than an infinite regress re-emerged in the guise of the ‘symbol grounding problem’ (Harnad, 1990) with recommendations to ground symbols in newly fashionable connectionist computational architectures. However, the formulation of the issues remained philosophically naïve. Arguments from cybernetics based on concepts of self-organisation and organisational closure (Ashby, 1981; von Foerster, 2002; Beer, 1979, Pask, 1968) needed to be re-introduced to the cognitive science literature as radical departures from orthodoxy (Shurville, 1993). In time, Peter Cariani (1990) re-introduced cybernetics based concepts, such as Pask’s accounts of the evolution of sensory systems (Pask, 1959), that indicated how complex systems could evolve with their own intrinsic mechanisms for ‘meaning’ construction (nowadays referred to as ‘biosemiotics’) and ‘meaning sharing’ via the ‘significant symbols’ (human semioisis) of Mead and Peirce. In the second half of the presentation we suggest an alternative account of symbols which is grounded in the cybernetic tradition.

Power point slides

27th March 2006

Dr. Syed Raza "Sending Money Over the Internet"

The talk began with an overview of electronic payments over the internet, a description of how this is done currently and the weaknesses and limitations in the current system with particular reference to security. The speaker showed how the system which is currently restricted to use by the industrialised world can be made sufficiently safe, cheap and simple to enable lone crafts people and artisans in the third world to sell directly to consumers in the industrialised world which would have a huge impact on third world poverty and boost world trade.

Dr. Raza is security consultant with Citigroup the world's largest financial institution. Prior to that he was a computer security consultant with clients that included many local councils and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. He has lectured around the world on internet security. His PhD was concerned with how Internet payments could be made sufficiently safe for banks to use the internet routinely while enabling such payments to be made sufficiently cheap and simple to give individuals in the third world access to totally global e-commerce. The talk should interest anyone who has made telephone or internet payments or until now has been too nervous to try.

24th April 2006

Sally Ingram "Chaos, Fractals and the Quantum Mechanical Organisation of the Human Genome"

Sally Ingram at the Society An apparently reductive theoretical model will be proposed outlining quantum mechanical organisation in the biological cell. A brief introduction will be made to a QM interpretation of biological cell structures, before moving on to examine the far-from-equilibrium crystal set whose functional significance lies at the heart of current mainstream - and now badly failing - living systems theory. The principles of the set deconstruction are simple, yet reveal a fractal structure and a means of seeing the course of evolutionary history.

Sally Ingram has carried out research in General Systems Science at Southampton University and research in evolutionary diversity in the School of Ecology and Environmental Science at the University of Sunderland. Prior to that she studied at Imperial College and worked in the Palaeontology and Parasitology departments of the British Museum of Natural History.

Powerpoint Slides

31st May 2006