Reading & Thinging #8
On Syntegrity

Readings included:

  • Syntegrity - Stafford Beer - Preview
  • Managerial Cybernetics - Stafford Beer - video

Thinging involved building icosahedrons and tetrahedrons out of sticks to visualize/guide the structure of conversations.

From John:

Hi everyone, thanks for this evening. I think in the short time we had we managed to produce both synergy and structural integrity. Tensegrity and syntegrity!

So people know what they missed, and so we remember:

We built an icosahedron — 30 edges, twelve points, 18 faces (I think) — thanks to Alex for the sticks. We then built a much smaller tetrahedron to structure our six-person discussion.

Following the instructions in Chapter 2 of Stafford Beer’s Beyond Dispute: The invention of Team Syntegrity (1994), our initial statements of importance, which we jostled and then auctioned, were

  • Should reading and thinging “go public”?
  • What becomes of ethics when we abandon the concept of free will (for example in AI)?
  • When should we ‘no platform’?
  • Should we travel in other dimensions?

After one iteration of Outcome Resolve (4 meetings with input from team members, critics and our telepresent MONITORing godmother) we got the following Final(ish) Statements of Importance

  • Something about FACT paying for some decent cheese
  • There should be a committee responsible for the ethical use of AI
  • We should not pretend that there is such a thing as a neutral, balanced platform
  • Travel is sometimes good and sometimes bad

Which I think isn’t bad for a procedure that Stafford Beer says should take place over a ‘weekend in the mountains’.