Eden Medina: Cybernetic Revolutionaries (Hardcover, 2011, MIT Press) 4 stars

In Cybernetic Revolutionaries, Eden Medina tells the history of two intersecting utopian visions, one political …

Review of 'Cybernetic Revolutionaries' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I found out about project Cybersyn from the 99% invisible podcast and thankfully they recommended this book at the end of the episode.

OK, now what was Cybersyn (Cybernetics - Synergy)? Put simply it was an attempt of Allende's government to manage newly nationalized factories using Cybernetics (computers, teletype machines, mathematics and new management techniques). I have to compliment the author for the thoroughness and quality of research on this topic. She managed to beautifully cover the people, technology and politics that surrounded this project (she did repeat herself quite a bit, but I managed).

You have to be fascinated by the cold war period, the simultaneous joy and hope for the future and absolute terror of disaster made people try everything and anything. Just imagine the present if it worked long enough (it did reach something of an alpha version). What would really happen to the workers, would it accomplish it's goals or become the same brutal and efficient overseer of today (be kind to your Uber driver, his manager is literally an AI), we will never know, but it is interesting to speculate.