Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine

by Wiener

ISBN: 9780262537841 | Copyright 2019


A classic and influential work that laid the theoretical foundations for information theory and a timely text for contemporary informations theorists and practitioners.

With the influential book Cybernetics, first published in 1948, Norbert Wiener laid the theoretical foundations for the multidisciplinary field of cybernetics, the study of controlling the flow of information in systems with feedback loops, be they biological, mechanical, cognitive, or social. At the core of Wiener's theory is the message (information), sent and responded to (feedback); the functionality of a machine, organism, or society depends on the quality of messages. Information corrupted by noise prevents homeostasis, or equilibrium. And yet Cybernetics is as philosophical as it is technical, with the first chapter devoted to Newtonian and Bergsonian time and the philosophical mixed with the technical throughout. This book brings the 1961 second edition back into print, with new forewords by Doug Hill and Sanjoy Mitter.

Contemporary readers of Cybernetics will marvel at Wiener's prescience—his warnings against “noise,” his disdain for “hucksters” and “gadget worshipers,” and his view of the mass media as the single greatest anti-homeostatic force in society. This edition of Cybernetics gives a new generation access to a classic text.

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Contents (pg. vii)
Foreword (pg. ix)
Foreword (pg. xxi)
Wiener Filtering (pg. xxv)
Wiener and Control (pg. xxvii)
Wiener and Statistical Mechanics (pg. xxix)
Wiener and Non-­linear Systems (pg. xxxii)
Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence (pg. xxxiii)
Preface to the Second Edition (pg. xxxv)
Part I: Original Edition (1948) (pg. 1)
Introduction (pg. 3)
Note (pg. 228)
I: Newtonian and Bergsonian Time (pg. 43)
II: Groups and Statistical Mechanics (pg. 65)
III: Time Series, Information, and Communication (pg. 85)
IV: Feedback and Oscillation (pg. 129)
V: Computing Machines and the Nervous System (pg. 159)
VI: Gestalt and Universals (pg. 183)
VII: Cybernetics and Psychopathology (pg. 199)
VIII: Information, Language, and Society (pg. 215)
Note (pg. 228)
Part II: Supplementary Chapters (1961) (pg. 231)
IX: On Learning and Self-Reproducing Machines (pg. 233)
X: Brain Waves and Self-Organizing Systems (pg. 251)
Notes (pg. 281)
Foreword by Doug Hill (pg. 281)
Foreword by Sanjoy K. Mitter (pg. 283)
Preface to the Second Edition (pg. 285)
Introduction (pg. 286)
Chapter II (pg. 287)
Chapter IV (pg. 288)
Chapter V (pg. 288)
Chapter VI (pg. 289)
Chapter VII (pg. 289)
Chapter IX (pg. 289)
Chapter X (pg. 290)
Index (pg. 293)
Norbert Wiener

Norbert Wiener

Norbert Wiener (1894–1964) served on the faculty in the Department of Mathematics at MIT from 1919 until his death. In 1963, he was awarded the National Medal of Science for his contributions to mathematics, engineering, and biological sciences. He was the author of many books, including Norbert Wiener—A Life in Cybernetics and the National Book Award-winning God & Golem, Inc.: A Comment on Certain Points Where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion (both published by the MIT Press).