Impact of Norbert Wiener’s Work Today

Norbert Wiener was a visionary who foreshadowed and influenced the arrival of computing, robotics and automation. He was the first to articulate the modern notion of “feedback” and his work heavily influenced legends of twentieth-century science and society: computer pioneer John von Neumann, information theorist Claude Shannon, anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, and organized labor kingpin Walter Reuther.

Wiener’s science of cybernetics is the root of all things “cyber” in today’s global technological society. As development and deployment of new cybernetic technologies accelerated, Wiener’s new science and breakthrough discoveries were applied in everyday life realms by governments and commercial enterprises worldwide in ways that have benefited human existence. At the same time, many of those same technological advances have raised the social and human challenges Wiener himself foresaw and tirelessly forewarned of, resulting in his ardent social activism to safeguard “the human use of human beings”.

Publications

Videos

September 26th: Norbert Wiener, Vlogbrother John talking enthusiastically about a reading room named after Wiener at a hotel near MIT.

Information wants to be free: Norbert Wiener and AT&T. Adrian Johns from the University of Chicago, author of Piracy – The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates, speaking about Norbert Wiener’s experience with patents and AT&T.

Cybernetics.mov, a summary of Wiener’s ideas with relevant footage.

Norbert Wiener Quotes, a small selection of interesting quotes.

Mathematician’s shelter, a design concept based on Wiener’s holiday cabin (even has a blackboard).

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