Cybernetics (from the Greek word 'kybernetes' meaning 'pilot', 'governor'; or from 'kybernan' = 'to steer', 'govern').
The scientific study of how people, animals, and machines control and communicate information (for example, via feedback loops). Control mechanisms according to cybernetic principles are also found in genetic evolutionary processes, as well as in the the emergence and development of ecosystems.
Explanation from the Concise Encyclopedia:
Science of regulation and control in animals (including humans), organizations, and machines when they are viewed as self-governing whole entities consisting of parts and their dynamic organization. It was conceived by Norbert Wiener, who coined the term in 1948. Cybernetics views communication and control in all self-contained complex systems as analogous. It differs from the empirical sciences (physics, biology, etc.) in not being interested in material form but in organization, pattern, and communication in entities. Because of the increasing sophistication of computers and the efforts to make them behave in humanlike ways, cybernetics today is closely allied with artificial intelligence and robotics, and it draws heavily on ideas developed in information theory.