« Executive Short Courses/College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics

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Delivered by the School of Cybernetics

About this course

Artificial Intelligence is booming. AI-enabled systems are becoming ubiquitous. New AI solutions are being created to address business, environmental, political and technical challenges. At the same time, there is concern about the impact of AI on public discourse, in consumer settings, in education.

AI is a technology within broader cybernetic systems, encompassing complex interactions of human, technological and ecological factors.  In this course participants will learn how to use a cybernetic lens to unpack AI stories and reflect on new ways to talk productively about AI without being beholden to existing technological narratives. We will look at AI-enabled systems as cybernetic systems and explore how interactions within and between the components of the system can lead to unexpected outcomes. Finally, we will consider different potential future scenarios for AI-enabled systems, analysing the possibility and preferability of different possible futures to inform our present-day decisions and actions. These topics will be explained through practical examples and case studies drawn from industry, government and community settings.

Program (Revised 24 February 2022)

  • 9:00 - PANIC! Playing with AI tools
  • 9:30 - Exploring Cybernetics in the 21st Century  
  • 10:00 - Morning tea
  • 10:30 - Analysing AI Stories  
  • 11:30 - Generating Preferable AI Futures  
  • 12:30 - Lunch
  • 1:30 - Using the ‘Cybernetic Star’ Analysis Tool  
  • 3:00 - Afternoon tea
  • 3:30 - Enacting Change in the Present
  • 4:30 - Wrap up

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, participants will be able to:
  1. Articulate the link between cybernetics and AI
  2. Use cybernetic analysis tools to explore how AI systems can impact wider systems and lead to unexpected outcomes
  3. Imagine and articulate multiple visions of our AI-enabled future informed by a cybernetic approach to feedback cycles, people, technology, and the environment


This course will suit anyone who has an interest in AI and its application in industry, government and education. In the course, you will draw on your understanding of AI and its impacts as you employ analytical tools from cybernetics. The techniques you learn in this course will be immediately applicable for anyone who works in AI or in the organisational contexts where it is (or could be) deployed.

Preparation activities

In the weeks preceding the course, participants will be invited to share some of their thoughts about AI through an anonymous online survey. The course will be tailored to the interests and needs of participants based on the responses to the survey.


The fee for these workshops will be $940 per person.