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Unobservable, Uncontrollable


Piggybacking on yesterday’s BS post, let’s explore (and make stuff up about) a couple of important control system “ilities“: observability and controllability.

First, let’s look at a fully functional control system:

Intact CS

As long as the (commands -> actions -> CQs -> perceptions) loop of “consciousness” remains intact, the system’s decision maker(s) enjoy the luxury of being able to “control the means of production“. Whether this execution of control is effective or ineffective is in the eye of the beholder.

As the figure below illustrates, the capability of decision-makers to control and/or observe the functioning of the production system can be foiled by slicing through its loop of “consciousness” at numerous points in the system.

observe control

From the perspective of the production system, simply ignoring or misinterpreting the non-physical actions imposed on it by the actuators will severely degrade the decision maker’s ability to control the system. By withholding or distorting the state of the important “controlled quantities” crucial for effective decision making, the production system can thwart the ability of the decision maker(s) to observe and assess whether the goal is being sought after.

In systems where the functions of the components are performed by human beings, observability and controllability get compromised all the time. The level at which these “ilities” are purposefully degraded is closely related to how fair and just the decision makers are perceived to be in the minds of the system’s sensors, actuators, and (especially the) producers.

  1. Dick Danjin
    September 11, 2013 at 9:50 am

    “simply ignoring os misinterpreting the non physical actions imposed on it by the actuators “POT/COP,otherwise stated as not understanding and or being aware of the underlying psychodynamics that exist in all systems/organizations that modify/mitigate required systems resulting in emergent systems.

    • September 11, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Sounds good to me. 🙂 Thanks for the input Dick.

  1. September 12, 2013 at 12:54 am
  2. September 13, 2013 at 1:02 am

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