Do Cyborgs Dream of Electronic Rats? The Macy Conferences and the Emergence of Hybrid Multi-Agent Systems

Samuel Collins

This paper discusses the , and the importance of these first-generation cybernetics to MAS and AI. The object of the Macy conference was (or turned out to be) cybernetics, AI and even MAS, but can we also see the conference itself through MAS? This is, after all, what Mead, Bateson and Fremont-Smith saw that a unique organization of the conference would also produce unique knowledge. But, more than simply interdisciplinary itself, the machines of the cyberneticians were also extremely important, so important that they take on their own agency. Despite the fact that these machines would not fit the definition of an autonomous agent in MAS, they nevertheless are introduced at the meetings with what might be called a presumptive or even a nonce agency. They emerge as autonomous agents in their right in the course of the Macy Foundation meetings.

Subjects: 7.1 Multi-Agent Systems; 9.4 Philosophical Foundations

Submitted: Sep 20, 2007