Project Cybersyn

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Project Cybersyn was an early computer network designed to regulate the Republic of Chile’s economic transition to economic planning during the early 1970s. Specifically, it was an example of decentral planning, and they successfully established it in only four months.[1]

After Chileans elected Salvador Allende, the Chilean government proposed that they might be ready to use computers to manage the national economy and the growing number of industries that they were placing under state control. They collaborated with British cybernetician named Stafford Beer to design a system that treated computers as part of a communications network. The project consisted of four subprojects: an economic simulator, custom software to check factory performance, an operations room, and a national network of telex machines that they attached to one mainframe computer. The Cybersyn team had to build a computer network that consisted of one computer due to the Republic of Chile's limited computer resources.[2]

For almost a year, parts of the system, such as the network of telex machines, assisted the Republic of Chile in improving its internal communication. The system also improved the administration's data-collecting abilities, and economic data that used to take a year to amass and publish were now reaching the administration on a daily basis, with only a biduan delay.[2]

In October 1972, anti-socialists instigated a major truck drivers' strike that tried to overthrow the Allende administration, but the administration survived in part because they had already constructed a national telex network that allowed them to learn which roads were obstructed, which truckers were loyal to the government, where spare tires were located, and so forth. Having that system in place gave them options they would not have had otherwise and lessened the potential damage caused by the forty thousand bribed truckers.[2][3]

Shortly after September 11, 1973, the antisocialists completely destroyed this system.[2]