About Norbert Wiener
Who was Norbert Wiener?
During his life Dr Norbert Wiener influenced mathematics, philosophy, science, technology, ethics, biology, prosthetics, education, manufacturing and other fields. Cyberspace is named after his multidisciplinary approach, “cybernetics” (the “cyber” in cyberspace, cyber-warfare, cyborgs). He was an early practitioner of diversity and social inclusion, and an advocate of social responsibility in the development of technology. Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century is a program of activities initiated to reintroduce him to a younger generation, including the IEEE 2014 Conference Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century .
Norbert Wiener’s Asia connections
Wiener had many connections to the Asian region, visiting and working in China, Japan and India, along with professional colleagues from the region:
Links with the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata from the time he worked there in 1955-56, evident in the ISI Museum and Archives, including his collaboration with ISI founder Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis.
Encouraged by Nehru, Wiener believed India could develop by providing “the non-commissioned officers of science and technology”, rather than a path of “unchecked growth of a 19th century factory system”.
Wiener’s acknowledgement of region contributions, including to Pesi Masani, later his biographer and editor of his collected works, who “showed me that the [multiple time series] question should be conceived in a larger way”.
The important work he did with two PhD students, Yuk Wing Lee (co-creator of the Lee-Wiener Network) from China and Shikao Ikehara from Japan.
Wiener “never felt the advantage of European culture over any of the great cultures of the Orient as anything more than a temporary episode in history … we need the Orient more and more to supplement a West which is showing the intellectual and moral enfeeblement following two World Wars.”