"We need to stop those who don't want,
the people to win this fight.
We must bring all science together
before patience is lost."
- - "Letanía para una computadora y para un niño que va a nacer" Song Promoting SYNCO, apparently originated within the Huemul Project.
""It is a fact-or I have dreamed it-that by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time?"
- - Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables, The Flight of Two Owls.
Cybernetics, a field of science that didn't really exist until the 1940s, is normally defined as "the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine", while also known for being a badly organised work, an intriguing idea that catches the attention more by the richness of its ideas than the shortcomings of it. A field that tries to utilize language related to both biology and engineering, being a sort of bridge that connects but not quite entangles both of them. An universal language to be able to comprehend the behavior of machines, of organism, of organizations.
This sort of holy grail of communications meant that soon various other fields would make their own additions to the concept and the field of cybernetics; anthropology, physicists, psychologists, they all brought their own little grain of salt to create this new, strange entity that would become Cybernetics, not quite in the field of engineering, of humanities or medicine, but something beyond all that but somehow related. This sort of miraculous universal science aspect to it is what brought the interests of industrial management to see what Cybernetics could do for it.
The idea certainly was novel, and as such the Soviet Union was one of the first to try their hands in the matter, a new economic model for a new social model may had been just what they needed. While their research on actual cyborgs is what became the most (in)famous, equally impressive were the advances the cyberneticists made on the issue of state planning through the managing of computers that could coordinate the war efforts throughout an entire territory, industries capable of getting their raw materials just in time just in the amounts that were needed, producing just enough products to satisfy demand, with no excess that would incur waste involved. Unfortunately, the technology wasn't there yet, and with the research on cybernetics having been preferred to be used on body modifications of the soldier to win an edge in the battlefield and the materials for the gigantic processors needed for this task being utilized instead to construct more war material, what little advancement was already amazing, but not enough to warrant much attention. Once cyberneticists started to be killed off left and right, they finally got the message, the field simply wasn't worth investing upon.
The end war and the aforementioned persecution meant that many of the cyberneticists sought asylum and while many simple preferred to defect to the winning band, many others though that simply didn't provide enough protection nor safety, or maybe it felt like a betrayal of their principles, regardless of the reason however, many opted instead to flee to South America, to the welcoming government of Peron.
Joining one of the countless projects Peron was proposing to demonstrate his country as a top power of the world was that these cyberneticists were put to work on... whatever could benefit the country, through Peron's generous payroll. But, as the tools Peron provided were scarce, nothing of much worth could be done, and with the advancements on the field that were being done in Europe through the work of Chiron Biotecnologies, not to mention the fear of their "cybernetic system" actually having the capacity to steal his power and bring back the power of the syndicates and eventually the communists, they were banished to the farther realms of the Patagonia, eventually working alongside the rest of the Huemul Project associates. This decision in the end would prove to be the move that saved them from sure destruction.
Fast forward two decades and the idea of cybernetics was already getting old, individual computers getting progressively more and more power, while the Empire of the Rising Sun opened to the world and the Syndicate demonstrated the power of the Integrated Circuit, the mere idea of management cybernetics was a taboo, something contrary to the ideals of communism, a shunned field of science that brought nothing but twisted mockeries of the human race and cold inhuman machines that would do nothing but replace the hard labour of honest workers. Something that went completely opposite of the ideals of the Soviet Bloc.
That is until the Cybernetic Federation rose in earnest.
Be it by chance or design, the Cyberneticists that took refuge in Argentina somehow managed to avoid the fatal fate that their counterparts suffered in the old world, as if someone was actually actively protecting them to ensure their ideas would come to fruition. While the third world war escalated, a less important matter went by mostly unnoticed, the idea of cybernetics started to catch on in a remote corner of the world, slowly but surely, people were doing small scale experiments to coordinate business through clever if primitive systems of communications.
It was as simple as impromptu telegraphs being hanged to let distant offices in the backwoods communicate semi-reliably with the home offices. Sometimes telephone lines were put on instead for the more successful or largest of these endeavours, the forests of the Araucania began seeing a tangle of wires engulfing it, slowly but surely, runners going about relying information as quickly and accurately as possible. The early days of Allende saw an incredibly strange event happening, but the invasion cut short any indignation as to what could had been the cause of this sudden shift in behavior. This primitive system, however, would prove that the idea was simply workable, and that it could actually be used efficiently in a war time manner, if not in the way the soviets envisioned.
Industrial lines became communication relays for resistance pockets, coordinated by unseen operators that could form strike times at the right locations with just the perfect tools for the fight. The fights were quick and brutal, the reprisal so swift the invasion forces simply couldn't comprehend how an assorted line of resistance fighters could provide a defense so formidable were their army counterparts failed so thoroughly.
Soon enough, the fight was turned onto them and Chile was once again in the hands of the workers. This system proved it's worth and it was soon suggested to Mr. President. If that's what it could do with just limited resources in a backwater region of the country, imagine what it could do with the entire nation at its disposal?
The plan was finally put in effect, state funded telephone lines, computers and radios built all over the country, the name Cybersyn, or SYNCO in Spanish was coined, a state project by the workers, for the workers, millions invested in the system that would mean the future of socialism, and the nation. T-Syn a household item in every corner of the nation.
It all worked too perfectly, but the question was, what to do with the computing power needed for such behemoth?
The Soul of a Country
Cybersyn was not just the work of a government, but of a people. The foundations upon which the system that would feed the entire country with information would have to be laid through the entire country, through the entire Federation. Mountains, rivers, entire cities had to be reconfigured for the system to be set up and running, kilometers upon kilometers of copper wiring, terminals and tunnels had to be laid out, planned and get working for the cybernetic government to become a reality.
This was accomplished within a year.
Civil Workers, farmers, businessmen, people from all walks of life joined together and cooperated to help the cause of Cyberbolivarianism, people would get up early in the morning, frequently expecting nothing in exchange, to further help the cause. In record time, an entire country, and then two, and three, were suddenly interconnected in a new tangle of wires and information, a nervous system for a country that hoped to become a world leader in communication and technology, the hopes of an entire country laid out in the hopes of a single dream and a humble machine. Synco.
The heart and mind of the machine, where everything works, is a completely different story however.
It all began during the reconstruction process of Santiago proper, during a normal remodeling process meant to fix the façade of an administrative building of the state a most intriguing mystery was suddenly discovered: A formerly unknown tunnel was discovered, one that extended way beyond what anyone could have suspected.
While a discovery like this is normally not too extraordinary, most Spanish colonial cities have after all tunnels and underground pathways that are eventually abandoned when their original purpose is not deemed necessary anymore, leaving the tunnels to rot and be forgotten throughout the centuries. Never a network of this magnitude had been discovered in the new world.
Hundreds of miles of labyrinthine pathways had been discovered sitting just below the streets of Santiago de Chile, at first, they featured regular colonial architecture, probably underground storages or grottos built to serve as secret pathways in case the city was besieged once again by invaders and the coordination of the troops had to be done underground, or maybe hideouts of the Jesuits to avoid the inquisition during the late years of the colony.
As more and more was explored however, even these theories had to be discarded for even older pathways were uncovered, walls made out of seemingly Inca groundworks, shrines dedicated to unknown gods and cyclopean masonry found in the deepest of the entrails of the last capital in the world, construction works of unmeasurable magnitude found just in one of the most unimportant places in the world for unknown purposes and whose age is just left for the imagination for, beyond the safety that the Inca groundworks provided, even more laid ahead, spelunkers found out the pathways became rougher and rougher the more one advanced, until they finally found what seemed to be a natural system of caverns, with a particularly large cavern being the end of it all, the depth of which was just too large for anyone to dare venturing below, the air too scarce and the heath too much for anybody to bother.
Though for all intents and purposes this should had been the archaeological finding of the decade, if not the century proper, the new government of the Federation had other plans for it.
Having found that they had just the perfect groundwork to install the massive behemoth that the centre of Cybersyn would prove to be, they hid most of the maps and planes that had been found about this immense system of underground tunnels and took them to themselves.
Starting with an entrance just below La Moneda Palace, by express orders of the President, the entrance to Synco is meant to withstand even the hardest of impacts, by express orders of the Vicar, it has been heath proofed up to 3000 ºF, laced with lead and thick enough to withstand even the direct impact of a Proton Collider. The Tunnel Network is in theory large enough to house the entire population of Santiago, yet the humidity and ventilation would make this option less than ideal, nonetheless, it's speculated that near of a million people work down there.
The space is, of course, cramped, even with the Tunnels expanded and reinforced, the addition of modern machinery and connection to the basic needs of the people literally living down there has meant that nonetheless it's a precious resource, much people having to work crouched on their stations. Dozens of public buildings had to be seized and repurposed for the needs of the system, building sized ventilation and cooling systems are a necessity to make conditions on the underground somewhat livable, yet the humidity is is still a persistent problem, with plagues of rats and droves of stray dogs still being a known nuisance inside the installations, rumours of criminals acting with impunity amidst the chaos, the most paranoid claiming that ghosts and even robotic crustaceans can be seen wandering the facilities on the ill hours of the evening. Diseases spreading fast and wide and pestilence being a common problem. The major enemy of Cybersyn may actually not be ideological or technical, but sanitary in nature.
Most impressive of all however is the central processor of Synco, found nearly a kilometer below Santiago in the conveniently huge cavern found way below the original tunnels, it's a machine that makes a constant humming noise, day and night, nearly deafening and most certainly capable of driving mad anyone who'd dare to live permanently so close to the entrails of the Earth.
Yet, this massive endeavour wouldn't had been possible if it weren't for the unbreakable will of the fervent Chilean worker, toiling day and night, almost without rest, the whole year, for the needs of his people, for the better of society. While it's an extenuating work, it is a very rewarding one, for they know that the success of this project means the victory of the Chilean people in the face of hardship.
As such, Santiago has become the heart and mind of one of the greatest marvels of engineering ever built by man, a brain for a nervous system that now covers the entirety of the Federation.
To Control the Future
In the center of Project Cybersyn (Cybernetic Synergy) the Operations Room is located, just below La Moneda Palace in Santiago. Here, every cybernetic decision countrywide, and eventually, federation wide is made. The seats in this operation room are strategically located in the middle of the room with various monitors displayed behind them on the walls, while the seats can review critical highlights, with convenient up and down buttons on their handle for a more intuitive use. At the mere touch of a button, four screens can show hundreds of pictures and figures, hundreds of statistics and historical information at the mere touch of a button.
These figures were not automated nor programmed by the computer however, the buttons are a mere handle to tell the graphic designer working on the facility that he must project the most recent data obtained by the industries that are providing the feed that has been asked for or, if the appropriate button is pressed, a simulation of the future state of the Chilean economy.
Another wall is reserved for another role, Project Cyberfolk, which thanks to an algedonic meter could depict the happiness of the Chilean population at the click of a button, this of course meant the distribution of algedometers to every household in the Federation, which conveniently also doubled as televisions, following the convenient system that the Soviet Union had already set in place. Complaints about the real nature of this display as a spy system to keep an eye on every household in the territory have been dismissed as nonsense, as are the complaints about this being a blatant populist initiative.
Viable Systems Model
The Viable System Model, taken from the idea that, much like organisms, machines and even larger organizations maintain their organization and their purpose within their environment and that this can be understood and helped so the system doesn’t break, is an integral part of Beer’s idea os applying a sort of Nervous System to an entire country, to govern a territory through the use of computers.
A viable systems models is, in simple terms, composed of 5 interacting subsystems that can be mapped into a larger structure. The system goes from the lower levels with primary activities, going through how these communicate and are monitored and coordinated by systems two and three, while the later levels monitor outside the system to monitor how to adapt to keep the system as viable and finally a balance of the whole from the demands from the different subsystems to steer the organization as a whole.
The systems themselves are recursive, meaning that subsystems can be seen working with this same method as complete systems in and on themselves, and this can be further expanded and expanded, until one can cover whole organizations or, perhaps, an entire country.
The Social Network
"You don't get to 30 million allies without making a few enemies."
- - Graffiti located outside a suspected Cybersyn control room
March 1968 was a momentous date for most Chilean households, for the first time, they would get their own T-Syn in their own homes!
For the first time, the people had the power in their hands. The power to have any information you would ever need at the tip of your hand, as long as you knew the right query and the right combination of cards to insert into the terminal, you could instantly communicate with friends kilometers at the distance, not only hear their voice, but have a real time, setting aside slight delays, face to face conversation with a familiar, friend or lover, for free. All thanks to the benevolent government.
Not only that, now you had a voice and vote in every local and soon to be countrywide government session, with the algometer making sure you could show your great approval or, god forbid, disapproval, for every government decision, just as they were being discussed and enacted. For the first time in history, every citizen of the country had a voice and opinion in the matters of higher administration.
T-Syn also had much more mundane utilities of course, for once, bets could be quickly be settled, as having the world’s information at the grasp of your hand meant that most people could reach information with unprecedented ease, leading many scams to their bankruptcy, though opening the way for many others to arise.
Public transport has now a completely new face, thanks to the new statized taxi system, just insert the right combination in your T-Syn and in mere minutes a taxi will be waiting outside of your house, no charges, courtesy of Compañero Presidente.
Plans for statized grocery shopping and even snacks are also well underway, though the frequency with which these could be used and the costs involved are still being heavily debated in parliament, though most of the citizens' algometers show complete éxtasis at the mere mention of the idea.
So impressive are the results of Cybersyn that the rest of the Comintern has expressed a great deal of interest in learning how to make systems of their own, with Premier Davidova herself expressing her congratulations to the government of the Federation. Owing to the Union's desire to formulate such a network in accordance with the new administration's reformist principles, the other red states also joined in, with a proposal to one day build a Cybersyn network for the whole of the Comintern. Even the Allies generally express at least grudging admiration of it, granting the members of the Federation unprecedented prestige.