Cybernetic Revolutionaries

Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile

Hardcover, 326 pages

English language

Published Oct. 30, 2011 by MIT Press.

ISBN:
9780262016490

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4 stars (4 reviews)

In Cybernetic Revolutionaries, Eden Medina tells the history of two intersecting utopian visions, one political and one technological. The first was Chile's experiment with peaceful socialist change under Salvador Allende; the second was the simultaneous attempt to build a computer system that would manage Chile's economy. Neither vision was fully realized--Allende's government ended with a violent military coup; the system, known as Project Cybersyn, was never completely implemented--but they hold lessons for today about the relationship between technology and politics. Drawing on extensive archival material and interviews, Medina examines the cybernetic system envisioned by the Chilean government--which was to feature holistic system design, decentralized management, human-computer interaction, a national telex network, near real-time control of the growing industrial sector, and modeling the behavior of dynamic systems. She also describes, and documents with photographs, the network's Star Trek-like operations room, which featured swivel chairs with armrest control panels, a wall of …

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Subjects

  • Politics and government
  • Case studies
  • Economic conditions
  • Cybernetics
  • Computer networks
  • Government business enterprises
  • Government ownership

Places

  • Chile

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