Re: the error is in call it "AI" !!!
this AI stuff was being sold under the "cybernetics" buzzword
It may well have been, but that's a meaningless characterization. "Cybernetics" means one of two things:
1. The technical term Norbert Wiener invented for the scientific study of self-regulating systems, from the Greek kybernetes, meaning "steersman", or various cognates related to governance.
2. A largely nonsense term in popular discourse with no well-defined meaning, other than vague connotations of mechanization and information technology.
ML and the broader category of AI have applications in cybernetics (as do many unrelated technologies, such as fuzzy logic and systems theory), but in no way are they equivalent to cybernetics.