Cybernetic Revolutionaries

Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile

342 pages

English language

Published Feb. 16, 2014 by MIT Press.

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5 stars (1 review)

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 screens displaying data, …

3 editions

Fascinating story, well researched

5 stars

Very detailed with lots of background information, but still easy to read with short paragraphs and pictures and diagrams.

Provides an in-depth explanation of the politics, struggles, and achievements of project Cybersyn.

Very well researched from many different sources including books, interviews, and scientific publications.

A fascinating and inspiring story, doesn't happen every day that you get to put your theory into practice on the scale of an entire nation.


  • Chile, politics and government
  • Chile, economic conditions
  • Government business enterprises
  • Government ownership
  • Cybernetics