21st August 2003 - Decision and Control

It took me a few weeks to make it through "Decision and Control: Decision and Control: The Meaning of Operational Research and Management Cybernetics" by Stafford Beer. This book is indeed a comprehensive walk though the practical application of cybernetics in Operational Research.

In general Beer argues that operational research is superior to traditional management in that it tends to be influenced by solipsist attitudes, politics, personal interests and general lack of information. By applying a scientific approach to an operational challenge, the factual approach of science will see through such obstacles; moreover by applying cybernetics, the holistic model of the entire "ecosystem" will facilitate simulating of multiple "what-if?" options as well as allow for reaching an optimum for the total system whether that being an Enterprise, a Government or a production line.

To me it is remarkable that a book this progressive is written as early as 1966; the visions of Beer are yet to be applied today in many places if they should ever become the default management practice. However, the pioneering ideas that a systems approach to simulation will give valuable insight and decision capabilities are widely accepted. On the other hand, it seems that Beer at the point of writing assumed that artificial intelligence would reach a higher state and application than it has proven to do.

In general a very thought provoking and interesting book for everyone interested in managerial science through the use of computer technology.

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Updated 2003-08-21

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The official homepage of Morten Middelfart and CALM. Computer Aided Leadership and Management (CALM) is an inspirational speculation on where mankind may be heading in the quest to leverage computer potentials for helping individuals and organizations to self-actualize their symbiotic potentials.

The time frame for this well-informed and provocative speculation on relatively near-term and more distant potentials is clearly within mankind's grasp. Dr. Middelfart argues persuasively that within the next one or two decades, symbiotic links with "intelligent machines" will surely leverage people's potentials, far beyond all human progress to date!

Altogether, a tour de force of well-informed contemporary insights and maturely reasoned speculation; affording possible stepping stones and a creative springboard for what may lie ahead. As has been said: "Man's reach should exceed his grasp; else what's a heaven for?


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