The Law of Requisite Variety

As transportation designers and engineers by profession, we frequently use the Ashby’s Law. Ashby’s Law is a fundamental law of cybernetics and it is also known as the Law of Requisite Variety. Transportation engineers make use of this law to control the traffic jams.

The law states, “Only variety absorbs variety” or “Variety kills variety”. In simple words if we want to control a system with a number of possible states, then the controlling mechanism has to have at least the same number of states.

As an example, what the Ashby’s law says is that whatever provisions we make in a reductionist sense in the finance and accounting sector for taxation purposes, the lawyers (together with the accountants) have much more variety than the regulators can put in. Maybe after all, cybernetics can give new ideas and new perspectives to the corporate governance area of regulations.

As technology explodes, our governance board must be able to foresee the consequences of the variety explosion due to come, as the requested autonomy from everybody will increase.

Tags: governance