Civilisation at the Crossroads –
Response and Responsibility of the Systems Sciences
Vienna, 22-25 April 2014
The upcoming EMCSR will take place in Vienna from 22nd to 25th of April, 2014.
Systems terminology has entered any field of society – everyday practice as well as research and development in the sciences, be it in natural, social or engineering sciences or in logics and mathematics or in philosophy. All of those sciences that revolve around systems shall, and do, contribute, in one way or another, more or less, to the thriving of civilisation. But how do they perform now that global challenges beset civilisation as never before? “Best practice” has to be redefined. That’s the agenda of the EMCSR 2014.
Our world is at crisis. Global challenges abound. However, they have a “dark” and a “bright” side. The dark side is the imminent danger of the breakdown of interdependent societies with the perspective of extermination of civilised human life. The bright side marks a possible entrance to a new stage of evolution of humanity, to the self-organisation of a humane world society.
Cybernetics, systems research, the sciences of complexity – all of them have the potential to endow the subjects of history with guidance and a means for mastering the current transformation. But the readiness of cybernetic, systems and complex thinking for the tasks ahead has to be continuously reassessed and improved. The time has come to reflect on the aims, the scope and the tools of a multitude of approaches. Platforms for the self-understanding of the whole field are needed now more than ever.
Since 1972, the European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research (EMCSR) have been held in Austria every two years. They were organised by the Austrian Society for Cybernetic Studies (OSGK) founded in 1969 (which established a special institution, the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI), in 1984), in co-operation with organisations such as the then Department of Medical Cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence, University of Vienna, and the International Federation for Systems Research (IFSR).
Starting with the 21st EMCSR that took place in Vienna 10-13 April 2012, the upcoming meetings will be organised by the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (BCSSS) in co-operation with a number of other organisations in the field.
Their main focus is on the self-understanding of the field, in particular, on
(1) illuminating the underlying assumptions that make approaches distinct from each other or are shared by them while
(2) questioning the impact on society.
The meetings are open to any researcher in the field, be it systems biology or information systems, complex adaptive systems or sociocybernetics, evolutionary economics or ecosystems research, systems philosophy or constructivism, self-organisation or cognitive science, network theory or artificial intelligence or any other specialisation that is rooted in cybernetics, systems theory or complexity theory.
A flashback of the EMCSR 2012. Participants speak about what they like most about the conference. Click in the picture.