Behavior: The control of action

[From Rick Marken (960702.1300)]


This demonstation shows how difficult it is to produce the same
result (finger on target) in what seems to be an unchanging,
predictable_ world.

Hans Blom (960702) --

Again, we have the problem of scales...You miss the target point by a few
millimeters...Not by a few miles

How come?

Because my finger was attached to my arm;-)

The problem isn't one of scale per se but of relative scale. That is, the
problem is, over repeated trials, to determine the size of the deviation of
intended from actual results, with and without control. With control, the
size of the deviation (the average distance of finger from target) is on the
order of a millimeter; without control (with the eye's closed) the size of
the deviation is on the order of 2 or 3 centimeters: 200 to 300 times less
accurate. If I had pointed over a longer distance, the relative size of the
deviation for the controlled and uncontrolled case would have been much

What you demonstrate as a profound lack of predictive accuracy in this
example of yours can be turned around as demonstrating almost unbelievable
precision of accuracy.

Yes. By pointing out the spurious fact that my finger did not land "light
years" from the target you have shown (in your inimical;-) way) that I
pointed with "almost unbelievable precision of accuracy". Lovely.

So, what was your point again?

Ok. You caught me.

My point was that the world is so regular and predictable that there is
almost no need for control systems once we have learned to generate the
actions that produce the results we want. All this talk about controlling the
perceived results of action is just a bunch of cultist blather aimed at
irritating real control engineers like you. My demonstration shows that
people can generate results that are clearly within light years (or even
miles) of what they intend them to be without the need to percieve the on-
going status of these results. Once people have learned to control the
results they perceive, they can move on to the far more efficient and
"optimal" process of producing these results by controlling the actions that
produce them -- and relying on the world's generous regularity and
predictability to make sure that the actual results are "in the ballpark" of
what was intended. My point was that behavior is really the control of action
-- plus or minus a few light years;-)