Real Time Government is the application of the appropriate management intervention in a timely manner.

To speak of management, the profession of control, government and cybernetics is to talk of the same thing. Ampere first used the word cybernetique to speak of the "means of government".  In Latin gubernaculum means helm and gubernator helmsman from this root comes our word Governor. The Latin derives from the Greek Kybernetike which means the art of Steersmanship. Thanks to Norbert Wiener this has become Cybernetics which he defined as the Science of Communication and Control in Animals and Machines. Other definitions have also been proposed. The "science of effective organisation" or more recently "the art of error detection and correction" or even the "science of criticism".

The question of what is timely is determined by what is known of the characteristic relaxation time of the system considered. What is the worst case time for pathological demise of a system? A casualty with a severed carotid artery requires a quicker response than a surveyor claiming rising damp in a building. In the limit it depends on the Laws of Physics governing the system. Tachyonic Teleportation is claimed to have been demonstrated instantaneously setting potentially new standards for truly field concurrent computing, but electromagnetic interactions are limited by the velocity of light. Whilst new forms of computation and communication can nowadays be contemplated which greatly reduce the relaxation times of the systems that might be subject to real time control the Real Time Study Group has limited itself to what can be done over the Internet with serial digital microprocessor based computers of the familiar kind.

The great English Cybernetician Stafford Beer founded Management Cybernetics and showed what was involved in improving regulation and development with his neurophysiologically based Viable Systems Model.