G. VICKERS states: "Clearly problems of control are haunted by a complicated time factor. Each signal presents information derived from the past and initiates action which will take effect in the future. The effect of the action, more or less masked by other variables, will return for judgment at a still more remote point of time. Thus control is possible, even theoretically, only within limits; and these may present themselves as thresholds which are passed suddenly…
"The span between taking a decision and the comparison of its actual with its intended results ranges from seconds to years; and the longer it is, the more likely it becomes that no comparison will ever be possible, since so many variables will have contributed to affect the result" (1957, p.5).
This problem is closely related to chaotic determinism, in complex systems, prone to divergent bifurcations, whose theory was not yet developed when VICKERS wrote these lines (showing his impressive vision).
While his comment relates to volitive controls, it is no less evident that long term effects of natural controls are as difficult to predict… or more difficult still, because many of them are so ill understood.
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To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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