The term cybernetics refers to the science of goal-seeking, or self-regulating, things. The word itself comes from the Greek word for “governor.” The fields of robotics and artificial intelligence are subspecialties within the science of cybernetics.Computer-controlled robots that interact with their environments are cybernetic machines.

An example of a cybernetic process is pouring a cup of coffee. Suppose someone says to a personal robot, “Please bring me a cup of coffee, and be sure it’s hot.” In the robot controller’s memory, there are data concerning what a coffee cup looks like, the route to the kitchen, the shape of the coffee pot, and a relative-temperature-interpretation routine, so the robot knows what the person means by “hot.” A personal robot must go through an unbelievably complicated process to get a cup of coffee. This becomes evident when one tries to write down each step in rigorous form.

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