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Cybernetics a Review of the Influential Wiener Book

This article is a modern review of the highly influential book Cybernetics, by Norbert Wiener. Cybernetics was published in 1948 to provide an explaination of a new field of multidisciplinary (or interdisciplinary) science. Whilst the cover of the first edition titles the book as Cybernetics it is internally subtitled or Control and Communication in the Animal and Machine. Thus this is Wiener's meaning of the word Cybernetics. In publishing this book Wiener had put into words his work on a new field of science that had been cultivated amongst his contemporiaries, and at the Macey Conferences that began in 1946 in New York. Wiener worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and rubbed shoulders with many scientists who contributed to laying the foundations of computer science and the subsequent information age. This ultimately lead to the invention of the Internet and the resultant seismic shifts in social society, business and industry.

A Modern Review of Wiener's Cybernetics

Technology has progressed rapidly since the end of World War II. The opposing forces used the great minds of the time to gain an edge over one another. Computing was being advance to solve the German Enigma cryptographic codes. The Americans were building the ultimate weapon, the nuclear bomb. The German's were making strides with the jet engine. When the war finished the scientists of the late 1940's had plenty of ideas with which to work.

Pre-war meetings, Harvard Medical School, Dr. Rosenbleuth. The need for multidisciplinary teams to explore the boundaries of established scientific practices for futher advancements in areas where discplines overlap. Dr. Vannevar Bush, computing machines. Dr. Yuk Wing Lee, electric networks. Describing a form of computer. Solving differential equations. Anti-aircraft ballistics calculations. Mr. Julian H. Bigelow. Human's fly planes. Humans control anti-aircraft guns. Feed-back (Feedback). Oscillations, time series predictions, statisitics, machine form. Degraded messages (background noise), statisical methods to recover message. Overlap R.A. Fisher, Dr. Shannon - Bell Telephone Laboratories, V.A. Kolmogoroff in Russia. Entropy.

" to coin at least one artificial neo-Greek expression to fill the gap"


Credit a wide group of scientists. Macey, 1942


Dr. Shannon Boolean Algebra. Turing "worker in electronics" in the war. Intellectual possibilities of comupting machines. Describing early work on binary computers. p.23.


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