Feedback, industrial democracies

[From Rick Marken (940216.1400)]

Gary Cziko (940215.1520 GMT)--

I'm not sure
why you say that others can provide you only with input and not feedback.

If another person is an intermediary between my actions and the perceptual
consequences of my actions (as when I ask my daughter to straighten up her
room), this person IS part of the feedback loop.

but it also seems to me that other persons can provide me with

In PCT, "feedback" is a functional dependence of system input on output.
In your example, your daughter is part of the implementation of this
feedback function; the effects of your outputs (saying "clean up")
on your inputs (seeing "cleaning up" occuring) depends, in part, on
properties of your daughter.

Saying that feedback is "provided" to you by your daughter implies that you
are not involved in getting the perception of "cleaning up"; it sounds
like your daughter just gave you that perception -- you were "out of the
loop". When people talk about "providing feedback" it sounds like feedback
is an "event" that is independent of the outputs of the person to whom it
is "provided". Moreover, when people talk about giving _positive_
or _negative_ feedback, it implies that the person to whom this event is
provided is not involved in determining whether it is considered "positive"
(good) or "negative" (bad). Talking about "providing" feedback can,
therefore, lead to drastically wrong conclusions about how control works --
the kind of conclusions that we see in the literature of conventional

I would say that "input" cannot be provided to another person either. What
can be provided to another person (independent of that person's actions) is
a "disturbance" (to one or another controlled variable).

Hal PEPINSKY (940215.1446) --

On Bill [Leach]'s observations about tracking quality and value of
service to customers: I'd suppose the best tracking occurs insofar
as the providers ARE the customers (as people in the field of industrial
democracy would regard a matter of first principle).

So in industrial democracies all providers are customers? And vice
versa? Are all car makers car buyers and all car buyers car makers?
Hmmm. I buy cars but I don't make them. I make satellite ground control
systems, but I don't buy them. Am I not living in an industrial democracy?
Am I violating a first principle?

Inquiring minds want to know.