Fri 03 Mar 2023 - Fri 03 Mar 2023

09:00 - 17:00

1 Session


Delivered by the School of Cybernetics Experiences Team

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.


08:30: Registration and Coffee 

09:00: Cybernetics in the 21st Century
  • A look at the history of Cybernetics, investigating the value of a cybernetic approach to both personal and professional work. 

09:30: AI Stories
  • An introduction to examining the connection between cybernetics and AI and how cybernetics informs our approach to understanding the AI-enabled systems that characterise the fourth industrial revolution. There is no one single way to look at AI, and diverse stories and perspectives can lead to a more comprehensive view of a system and so better outcomes. 
  • Group activity: participants will examine what it means to approach the stories we tell about AI – in our workplaces, in the media and in popular culture – from a cybernetic perspective.  

10:30: Morning tea 

11:00: Dynamic Systems
  • Explore AI as a system by introducing a simple framework for considering the human, environmental and technological factors that comprise an AI system.
  • Group activity: using the framework, participants will practice observing a range of factors that are part of, and which influence, the design and purpose of a given AI system.

12:00: Lunch 

13:00: Components and Interactions
  • Recognise the dynamics among the agendas, infrastructure, agents, data, and processes that comprise an AI system to practice generating responsible and sustainable AI enabled business futures. 
  • Introduction of the Cybernetic Star tool, which we use to consider the dynamics of a system from multiple perspectives, and to help us narrow our focus so we can identify relationships within the system.
  • Group activity: participants will analyse a given scenario to practice identifying dynamics using the cybernetic star. 

14:00: Futures
  • An introduction to futuring – what is futuring, what's its history, what can/can't it do for/in your organisation.
  • Group activity: participants will encounter a "future scenario" vignette, where they’ll practice using cybernetic tools to look at what this potential future tells us about how to enact positive change in the present. 

15:00: Afternoon Tea 

15:30: Case study: applied cybernetics
  • Group activity: participants will analyse a case study set in the future, and practice using the cybernetic analysis tools covered earlier in the day to imagine new potential futures for such systems. 

16:30: Wrap-up
  • Shareback between groups and closing remarks. 

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 $960 per person

Minimum 10 participants, maximum 40

No dates are currently scheduled.

Developed and delivered by ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics in collaboration with ANU institute for Space, this course will run at the beautiful Mount Stromlo Observatory.

Do you work in a government department or industry, incorporating and using space technology more? Are you expected to know a range of technical details and nuances and want to better grasp them?  We are here to help!

Course outline

Over 2 days, come and learn from world experts covering a range of areas:

  • history of Australia's role in space,
  • the international landscape
  • how orbits work
  • ground-space communications
  • earth and space observations
  • legal, policy, and security issues
  • space exploration


Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should:

  • Understand space technology and its use
  • have an appreciation of the complexity of space technology
  • be able to identify the key issues in the use and development of space technology
  • understand how various issues are inter-connected and their affects
  • see the need and role of Australia in space technology, especially in the government and private sectors

Who should enrol

This course is suitable for those working in areas involving the use of space, space technology, satellites, earth observations and more.  It is also suitable for anyone interested in learning about the field or potentially entering it.