Ben van Lier: Blockchain technology and Self-stabilising systems

In 1954, one of the pioneers behind cybernetics, W. Ross Ashby, defined homeostasis as behaviour of interconnected machines that “is adaptive if it maintains the essential variables within physiological limits”. [1] Ashby based his definition on experiments he conducted with four interconnected machines that formed a new whole that he called the Homeostat. Operational stability of this new whole is achieved as one of the whole’s properties. In fact, Ashby considered this particular property a form of autonomous coordination of activities by and between the various machines.

In today’s age, devices and machines are increasingly interconnected in networks such as the (Industrial) Internet of Things, offering not only new possibilities but also creating rapidly growing threats that we are still insufficiently aware of and to which we certainly still lack an adequate response. Research into the essence of seemingly new technology such as blockchain technology or cybersecurity may produce new combinations for the development of new knowledge and applications.

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