In 1954 , English scientist W. Ross Ashby described the possibility of machine components establishing mutual connections or the interconnection of machines to create a new whole as a fundamental feature of these machines. Ashby concluded this after studying the functioning of an interconnected whole that he called a homeostat. Kline defined the homeostat as follows: “The homeostat consisted of four interconnected boxes filled with electronic gear and switches.” (2015:52).
In 1962, Ashby claimed that when adding a feedback loop to these interconnected systems: “the system would be self-organizing if a change were automatically made to the feedback changing it from positive to negative; then the whole would have changed from a bad organization to a good one.” (1962:115) In 1978, Lamport called such an interconnected whole a distributed system. In Lamport’s view, this kind of distributed but interconnected system can be considered: “a collection of distinct processes that are spatially separated and communicate with each other by exchanging messages. A network of interconnected computers such as the ARPA net is a distributed system.” (1978:558) Interconnecting machines in networks enables communication and interaction between these machines, thus paving the way for joint decision making about the activities that are to be performed.