Watch keeping and registering of specific data about the activity of a system and/or the changes in its environment.
On this last aspect W.D. GROSSMANN and K.E.F. WATT comment: "Monitoring of the environment provides the basis for two tasks: homeostasis and adaptation, and error correction. Monitoring is necessary because no perfect anticipation is available, otherwise it would not be needed. Capabilities for anticipation will be vastly improved, but will remain limited because of partial unpredictability of systems. In fact, it can be expected that anticipation will be wrong very often, perhaps most of the time in complex systems" (1992, p.20).
The authors recommend: "Development of a set of guidelines which specify the maximum tolerable deviation of indices of potential threats from their "standard values" or "standard long-run trajectories" (p.37).
This would be doubtless very useful. It should however be supplemented by a kind of "qualitative" monitoring, corresponding to basic mutations related to the emergence of new structures and functions through dissipation in a world in which natural homeostasis of ecosystems and human ones cannot anymore be taken for granted.
Monitoring can be improved in time as the most significant possible changes affecting short, medium and long term trends become more manifest, and as the possible impacts of some hitherto ill known factors become more visible, i.e. when the observer learns what to look for.
The results should be translated in easy to understand form for the use of decision makers, insisting however on the always somewhat imperfect character of the conclusions that can be drawn.
Monitoring in systemic terms should never be limited to some selected processes, isolated from context: it is the system as a whole, whose fitness, stability, or even global evolution in relation to its changing environment, should be watched.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
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]
We thank the following partners for making the open access of this volume possible: