Personal Reflections on Stafford Beer

Trevor Hilder
20 april 2015

I joined the ICT industry in 1974, teaching COBOL programming. By the early 1990's I had opened the first computer training department at Tesco head office, been a systems programmer, written one of the first database systems to run on the IBM PC, and generally had a lot of fun.

But I had also noticed that many of the best paid jobs I had done were on projects that either failed or were barely successful. My experience showed that the issues were always social and nothing to do with the technology, but nobody seemed prepared to admit this.

So I looked around for somebody who could explain why this was and tracked down Stafford Beer.

My session will tell the story of how I found Stafford, what I learned from him, the impact that has had on my life and what sense I have made of it.

I aim to make the session an exercise in "multi-dimensional cybernetics" attuned to the many dimensions of Stafford Beer, one of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century.