What are ‘cyber physical systems’ and why does Jeremy Corbyn care?

Jargon-tweeting by the leader of the Labour party has left some people wondering if he has been talking about a new Kraftwerk album

Name: Cyber physical systems.

Age: Ten. It was first coined by the US’s National Science Foundation.

Description: The thing that’s keeping Jeremy Corbyn awake.

In a bad way or a good way? Honestly, it’s hard to say. On Monday, Corbyn tweeted a picture of himself next to the words: “We now face the task of creating a New Britain from the fourth industrial revolution – powered by the internet of things and big data to develop cyber physical systems and smart factories.”

Right. Yeah, me neither.

I mean, is that a real sentence he actually said? With all those words? In that order? Actually said and actually tweeted. Whether or not he actually understood them is a different matter.

And people knew what he meant? Well, no. The responses suggest people were wondering if he was talking about a new Kraftwerk album, or the Terminator, or online sex.

Are cyber physical systems even an actual thing? Yes, they really are. I promise.

What are they? If you check the Wikipedia page, there’s a heavily labelled triangle on it. Part of the triangle reads: “Time machine for variation identification and memory.” Another part reads: “Self-optimise for disturbance.” Does that help?

Literally not at all. Oh, fine then. It’s driverless cars and stuff.

Really? That’s it? Why didn’t he just say “driverless cars”? Because that doesn’t sound knowledgable enough. “Driverless cars” doesn’t grab the electorate as hard as “cyber physical systems”.

So this is something the electorate is worried about? Oh, totally. Much more so than Brexit, or the NHS, or affordable living, or the snoopers’ charter, or Labour providing any sort of meaningfully relevant opposition to the government at a time when we need it most.

Really? No, of course not.

So, what are we supposed to do now? Now we face the task of creating a New Britain from the fourth industrial revolution – powered by the internet of things and big data to develop cyber physical systems and smart factories, obviously. Weren’t you listening?

Do say: “We now face the task of withdrawing egregiously chosen jargon – powered by the thesaurus and short words to develop a less opaque brain-mouth interface.”

Don’t say: “Wait, there was a third industrial revolution?”

The GuardianTramp

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