From the 1983 lecture programme:
It is remarkable that so many of the diverse phenomena we observe in the natural and man-made worlds operate on similar principles of control. Their central feature depends on a capacity to measure an output and, if it does not meet the specification, to change an input accordingly. The ways in which this 'closed-loop' operation is carried out vary enormously, but the patterns of behaviour show certain common characteristics, which we shall explore. At one end of the scale, we shall look at the classical problem of controlling the speed of a single rotating machine and, at the other, the control of the electricity supply to the United Kingdom. We shall also investigate the growing activities of robots, including the new generation that can see, feel and make decisions.