ASC Events > NewMacyMeetings


A revival of the original Macy Meetings, the trans-disciplinary conversations at the founding of Cybernetics in the 1940s and 1950s, redefined for the 21st century to include trans-global and trans-generational participation.



NewMacyMeetings Manifesto | Broad overview

Responding to the Pandemic of “Today’s AI” | Currrent initiative

#NewMacy-Related Links


Next conversations are being planned.

Past events

Emerging Topics for #NewMacy Meeting #3

Urgent Questions in response to “Today’s AI” – #NewMacy Meeting #2

Why Can’t Cybernetics Tame Pandemics? – NewMacy Meeting #1

Emerging Topics for #NewMacy Meeting #3

Saturday, October 16, 2021

This event will allow all attendees to explore some of the thought-provoking topics that emerged in #NewMacyMeeting #2. It will be a more extended meeting in two parts:

  • Part 1, small group discussions (1.5 hours)
  • Part 2, an all-attendees discussion (1.5 hours)

If you are interested in joining the Part 1, please help us select the topics to be discussed. These discussions will be run in parallel.

This following list comprises preliminary suggestions with related questions; in the group discussions, you will be encouraged to rewrite them in favor of greater clarity and intention. We thank all those who contributed their “Urgent Questions” for #NewMacyMeeting #2 from which many of these Suggestions are derived.

Which topics would you be most interested in discussing?

To express your interest, please voice your preferences here.

Urgent Questions in response to “Today’s AI” – #NewMacy Meeting #2

September 19, 2021

Contributions | Recording

Part of ASC Speakers Series: Cybernetics and humans’ knowing


What forms of human-machine interactivity would move us away from the ills of “Today’s AI”? 

How do we create organic frameworks for AI that are based in human and ecological values? 

There is no question that widespread AI software has negative effects. Manipulation of our attention and political sentiment, spread of bias, loss of privacy, and encouragement toward addictive behaviors are only a few widely acknowledged examples. With 2.8 billion people active on social media and 4 billion touched by digital devices, these manifestations of “Today’s AI” demand response.

— Our goal is to bring about the integration of today’s digital AI technologies with “analogic” frameworks — that is, humane, organic, open-ended, resonant, and socially-animated interactivity.

— Our plan is to create new design patterns and working prototypes that present vivid examples to designers, entrepreneurs, teachers, students, legislators—to promote inspiring alternatives to technologies to “Today’s AI.’

— Our hope is to transform the marketplace that dispenses harmful algorithms of “Today’s AI” and to make a better world of interactions with digital machines.To reach our goals we need a rich variety in the conversation and we invite you to participate:

I. Propose your “urgent questions” in response to these prompts:

  • In what areas should we pay attention to the negative impact of “Today’s AI”, and why? 
  • What counterexamples to those areas exist already, for example, alternative social networks, recommendation engines, and social-profiling algorithms? 
  • What new modes for interactivity can we define? For what circumstances and desirable outcomes?
  • Who else do we need in the conversation to design and prototype effective alternatives?

Submitted urgent questions before the deadline of Friday September 10th at 11pm. From all submissions, selections will be announced in advance and presented in real-time by their authors at #NewMacy Meeting #2 on September 19 (see next item).

II. Participate in #NewMacy Meeting #2 on Sunday September 19 at noon EDT by registering here at Eventbrite. Urgency of the need and scale of the challenge require that we convene a Network of #NewMacy Meetings. You are invited to attend whether or not you submit your own questions.

To succeed we must bring together voices across all disciplines, geographies, and generations. Please join us.

Participants Bios

Paul Pangaro is President of the American Society for Cybernetics and Professor of the Practice in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His bio is here and personal web site is

Larry Richards is Professor Emeritus of Management and Informatics at Indiana University East. Before retiring, he served as an administrator in three universities for 32 years. He now resides in Portland, Maine, USA. His interests include the arts, technology and society.

Eryk Salvaggio is an interdisciplinary researcher and artist examining gaps between datasets and the world they reflect. He holds a Masters in Media and Communication from the London School of Economics and a Masters in Applied Cybernetics from the Australian National University. His work can be found at

Frederick Steier is Professor, School of Leadership Studies, Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California, where he leads the program in Media, Technology and Innovation, and Emeritus, Department of Communication, University of South Florida. A former President of the American Society for Cybernetics, he received his doctorate in 1983 in Social Systems Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Claudia Westermann is an artist and architect, and Senior Associate Professor in Architecture at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Suzhou, China. Her work and bio can be found at


Why Can’t Cybernetics Tame Pandemics? – NewMacy Meeting #1

Sunday, September 13 2020 | Recording

Part of ASC Speakers Series: Cybernetics and humans’ knowing

We live in the unprecedented era of multiple global pandemics. While the COVID-19 pandemic of biology has forced an immediate response, other pandemics have existed for some time: rapacious technology, uncontrolled climate change, inequitable healthcare systems, racist socio-economic structures, food and water insecurity… the list is long. In design circles such ‘wicked challenges’ are construed to encompass but also to require more than viewpoints of first-order complexity; they require articulation of worldview(s) in which purpose, human values, and humility are most prominent. This second-order rhetorical step emphasizes the need for the dynamics of conversation, sufficient for shared understanding and coordinated action in the face of wicked challenges. Cybernetics purports to offer both a first- and second-order praxis. Can it help here? To stimulate debate, the prompt for the panel is: Why can’t cybernetics tame the wicked pandemics of today? The purpose is not simply to identify what is outside of cybernetics but to point out the limitations of cybernetics as a praxis for today’s pandemics. This panel is the first event in the revival of the Macy Meetings for the global challenges of the 21st-century.


  • Paul Pangaro, Carnegie Mellon University


  • Larry Richards, Indiana University East
  • Ben Sweeting, University of Brighton
  • Patricia Ticineto Clough, City University of New York
  • Delfina Fantini van Ditmar, Tutor, Royal College of Art, London

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