A congregation of vapors


Not collective control, failure of collective control due to positive feedback (runaway), a collective phenomenon among autonomous control systems in a shared environment.

PCT can teach how to stabilize control loops when they go into positive feedback, right?

We could mention Bill’s prescient story in a letter to the editor.

Published before B:CP in 1971, written probably during that interim of discouragement after co-authors of the 1960 “General Feedback Theory” papers elbowed Bill aside.

What a great article! Thanks. Could you tell me again what “collective control” is? Does it refer to anything other than a bunch of control systems (a collective) that are controlling (since they are control systems)?

Sure. But I don’t think there is a control loop in this case, at least not one involved in the positive feedback loop. What we have is a collection of individuals controlling for being cool. So they use AC to keep them cool. Running the AC requires energy which comes mainly from burning fossil fuels. So a side effect of everyone controlling is that the planet is getting hotter which requires people to use more AC to keep cool. So the positive feedback effect on global temperature is a side effect of a bunch of people individuals wanting to control of being cool.

Great find! And another thing to read that will keep me from doing what I should be doing;-) I should have taken a speed reading course.