Cybernetics Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine

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MIT Press, 1965 - Computers - 212 pages
"This book represents the outcome, after more than a decade, of a program of work undertaken jointly with Dr. Arturo Rosenblueth. The author and Rosenbleuth, as well as other scientists, became aware of the essential unity of the set of problems centering about communication, control, and statistical mechanics, whether in the machine or in living tissue. They were also hampered by the lack of unity of the literature concerning these problems, and by the absence of any common terminology. They decided to call the entire field of control and communication theory, whether in the machine or in the animal, by the name cybernetics. This book focuses on cybernetics, from its earlier history with computing machines to its more modern uses. This second edition includes both the first edition from 1846 and supplementary chapters from 1961"--Introduction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
 

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This is perhaps the single most seminal scientific work of the twentieth century, easily as important as a scientific discovery as the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics and far more broadly applicable than either of the prior theories which do not speak much outside the scope of their inquiries.
Cybernetic systems pervade our lives, from living organisms, to computer systems, to economics, ecosystems and climate. Knowledge of the core principles of cybernetics breathes insight into a vast array of the phenomena of our world.
Most highly recommended.
 

Review: Cybernetics: or the Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine

User Review  - Maureen - Goodreads

I stumbled through this book the best I could as a non-mathematician, because a friend suggested I read it. There was also a movement afoot in the psychology world at the time called "Psycho ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Newtonian and Bergsonian Time
30
Groups and Statistical Mechanics
45
Time Series Information and Communication
60
Gestalt and Universal
133
Cybernetics and Psychopathology
144
Information Language and Society
155
On Learning and SelfReproducing Machines
169
Brain Waves and SelfOrganizing Systems
181
Copyright

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About the author (1965)

American mathematical logician Norbert Wiener was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An intellectually gifted child whose father taught at Harvard University, he graduated from Tufts University at the age of 14 and received his M.A. and his Ph.D. in mathematical logic from Harvard in 1914. The following year he studied at Cambridge University under Bertrand Russell (see also Vol. 4) and Godfrey Hardy and at Gottingen University, Europe's leading centers in mathematical and physical science. During World War I, Wiener taught at the University of Maine, worked as a writer and reporter, and served as a mathematician in Aberdeen, Maryland. In 1919 Wiener joined the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he remained for the rest of his long, notable career. While at MIT, he was influenced by the research on statistical mechanics of chemist Josiah Willard Gibbs. Adapting Gibbs's findings, he produced major research contributions on the problem of Brownian motion. He also used Tauberian theorems in his work on harmonic analysis and produced simple proofs of the prime-number theorem. Wiener also began to study electrical circuits, especially the field of feedback control. During World War II, Wiener went to work for the U.S. government on the construction of predictors and in research on guided missiles. Despite his wartime contributions, he resolutely opposed the use of weapons of mass destruction. However, a major outgrowth of his wartime research was his renewed study of the handling of information by complex machines like automatic computers, radar devices, and servomechanisms. His earlier research in feedback control in circuit instrumentation now prompted Wiener to postulate the similarity between the operation of these mechanisms and that of the human brain and nervous system. His work here led to a new field of science that he called cybernetics, which he defined as the study of control and communication in man and in the machine. His book Cybernetics (1948) was widely read by both scientists and the general public. The book popularized the study of the relationships between the creations of the new age of technology and their creators.

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