Cybernetics and its relationship with Law

The pre-transcribed text constitutes one of several documented testimonies on the notion of “cybernetics” in Greek philosophy, where it is stated that Plato, in Ion, from the first series of his famous dialogues, used the word Kybernetes, referring to the technique of the helmsman or the art of piloting the ship.

From this notion about the technique or art of the helmsman (Kybernetes), begins the discussion and evolution of what the mathematician Norbert Wiener, in 1948, called: “cybernetics”, to designate his new proposal, at that time, about control and communication in machines and living organisms. Wiener, in his book “Cybernetics, or control and communication in the animal and the machine”, published in the same year, indicated: “We have decided to call the whole matter concerning the control and theory of communication, both in the machine and in the animal, by the name of cybernetics”.

In the field of Law, when criminogenic behaviour is carried out using a computer system, by means of the Internet or new information technologies, we call it using the prefix “ciber” or “cyber”, thus referring to cybernetics together with crime. Thus arises the legal figure that is in vogue, called “cybercrime”. and other figures or terms such as “cyberspace”, “cybercriminal”, “cyberspionage”, “cyberterrorism”, “cybersquatting”, and an endless list of legal figures related to cybernetics, internet or new information technologies.

With regard to cybernetics, many authors have affirmed that its definition is very complex, since some consider it as a science, and others as a set of ideas that allows interdisciplinary discussion and analysis in order to make analogies between mathematics, biology and electronics, among other sciences and disciplines.

Anthony Stafford Beer, considered an outstanding theoretician, academic and consultant in organizational cybernetics, lectured at the ceremony of his investiture as Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Valladolid, Spain, on October 26, 2001, and posed a very specific question: What is Cybernetics? When Beer expounded extensively on the answer to that question and after indicating the great difficulty of its definition, he mentioned the interdisciplinary character of cybernetics, stating that this science has its origins in the early 1940s, when a group of prominent scientists met in Mexico to discuss various issues related to the Second World War. In this regard, he said: “It is well documented how they came to discover precisely because of their great eminence in different fields that it was difficult for them to talk to each other about anything serious. So they decided to choose a topic that would not be anyone’s specialty but would interest everyone. And their eminence was really important for another reason: they had nothing to prove. They then decided to examine the nature of control.”

Cybernetics focuses on the functions of control and communication. Norbert Wiener is considered the father of cybernetics. Wiener, in his cited Book on Cybernetics, describes it as the “science of control and communication in animals and machines.

Norbert Wiener did not invent the term cybernetics, his greatest achievement was to understand the application of that science to its context, and so, from an ancient example of the helmsman, taken from Greek philosophy, he understood the fundamental bases of Kybernetes (cybernetics) in terms of control and communication, extracting the notions of governance, control and communication, thus contributing to the development of the philosophy of technology.

Cybernetics studies the processes of communication and control of systems (a complex object whose components are related to each other, such as biological, mechanical and artificial systems). For Neville Moray, quoted by Flores Salgado, “cybernetics is the science that relates the inputs and outputs of a system, its inputs and outputs.

When the object of a branch of legal science is related to the object of the science of cybernetics, then we must study both sciences together. For example: A computer system “designates any isolated device or set of interconnected or united devices that ensure, in execution of a program, the automated processing of data. So, if this computer system is used as an instrument of an illicit action, that is, the system, by a human act, transcends the legal sphere, we must, obligatorily, link the study of cybernetics and crime, and the way of understanding this relationship or link, is when we use the composition of terms, as an interdisciplinary language, relating them in this way: CIBER-CRIMEN.

Following the example given above, when we do the joint cyber-juridical study, we must study the cyber-juridical aspect in order to understand the functioning of the system and internal structure, and to determine its use in illicit conduct, as well as the knowledge of the exchange and circulation of information; likewise, we must study the legal aspect of the specific case, in order to understand and establish its typicity, anti-juridicity and culpability.

The “branch of science within which computing has been developed is cybernetics”. In this sense, just as we relate the legal figure called “crime” or “crime” with “cyber-crime”, we can relate any other legal figure with the science of cyber-crime, using the prefix “ciber” or “cyber”, as long as the legal figure has a close relationship or link with computers, the Internet or new information technologies. For other analyses that link a cybernetic issue with a figure or institution of Law, we must use the prefix “ciber” and the legal figure, for example in cases of: CYBER-ESPIONAGE, CYBER-OCUPATION, CYBER-GUERRA, CYBER-TERRORISM, etcetera.

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