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Command Vs. Control


One of the acronyms in BD00′s evil glossary is “CCH“. It stands for “Command and Control Hierarchy” because BD00 thought that command and control were fused together like Forrest Gump‘s peas and carrots. However, In “Making Sense Of Behavior“, Bill Powers distinguishes between a command hierarchy and a control hierarchy in an interesting way.

In a command hierarchy, a command dictates a specific action (git ‘r done!). In a control hierarchy, a command is a reference signal that specifies the state in which a particular perception is desired to be at in a future point in time; a vision, if you will.

For example, a sequence controlling system doesn’t order the limbs to be in a particular configuration; it tells a lower level control system to perceive the limbs as being in a particular position, then another, then another. By receiving a less specific reference signal, the lower level position control system can compensate for unforeseen disturbances (wind, gravity, physical obstructions) without distracting the higher level control system from its purpose.

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