- Series: MIT Press
- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press; second edition edition (March 15, 1965)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 026273009X
- ISBN-13: 978-0262730099
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Cybernetics, Second Edition: or the Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine second edition Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service we offer sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and we directly pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products. Something we hope you'll especially enjoy: FBA items qualify for FREE Shipping and Amazon Prime.
If you're a seller, Fulfillment by Amazon can help you increase your sales. We invite you to learn more about Fulfillment by Amazon .
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
It appears impossible for anyone seriously interested in our civilization to ignore this book. It is a 'must' book for those in every branch of science...in addition, economists, politicians, statesmen, and businessmen cannot afford to overlook cybernetics and its tremendous, even terrifying implications. It is a beautifully written book, lucid, direct, and despite its complexity, as readable by the layman as the trained scientist.(John B. Thurston The Saturday Review of Literature)
About the Author
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 science. He was the author of many books, with Cybernetics: On Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine and God and Golem: A Comment on Certain Points Where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion among the most well-known.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Despite being an extremely sharp mathematician, and openly pooh-poohing the use of emipiricism and the application of maths to the social sciences, he nonetheless understood and even cared about the immense social impact of the technology ("technique" as he calls it), being developed by him and colleagues on the lay man of the future. He refers to the inevitable devaluation of future human beings, being forced to compete against computers, just as physical labor can not compete against automation ("...there is no rate of pay at which a US pick and shovel laborer can live which is low enough to profitably compete with a steam shovel as an excavator" serious aside: what does this say about the entire monetarist efforts of "the Fed" in tackling unemployment today! futility?).
Ironically, for a mathematician so deeply involved in the exposition of the advanced applications of the math of group theory, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, to signal processing and control, his broad economic and societal comments (about the role of God, the undeniable technological impulse/drive of Man throughout history, Labor Unions, Capitalist "Hucksters" etc) are the most prescient and catchy part of his work! (maybe because I am not a mathematician myself).
But, these social themes are NOT what Cybernetics (2nd ed) is all about. Norbert has written many many other books solely musing over these social themes very profoundly! In Cybernetics, the preface and first chapter represent the full extent of his thoughts on this area, which he alludes to again in the second half of the book.
Cybernetics, is an eclectic work with several themes or threads. The eclecticism derives from his pure genius to see common patterns emanating from what one could call the study of "Signals and Systems" applied to biological evolution, development of instinct, learning, all the way to the more commonly explored information theory, computing machines, and feedback theory. Another significant overall theme is of the utility of modern statistical approaches in the study and analysis of non linear systems, to time's arrow, thermodynamics, and evolution itself. He certainly grounds all his observations (with many amazing nuggets to be picked up by an alert reader, along the way) by alluding to rigorous if not totally un-refutable mathematics.
The second chapter is the 'K2' summit of the maths to be encountered in the book (good luck). This chapter touches on topics which can be considered a good chunk of what qualifies today as standard rigorous graduate level course work in the field of signal processing in electrical engineering; for example, how fourier series are almost a second nature outcome of group theory and invariant transformations; how the ergodic theorems apply to Gibbs' statistical mechanics and indeed make noise filtering possible in communications. The next chapter goes into the development of theory of feedback and control. Then, in the rest of the book he leaves signal processing and he segues on to computation, artificial intelligence, gestalt and perception, and self replicating machines! One of the famous (infamous?) memes from this book is that "reality" is actually "computed" by humans, not observed or sensed.
Strangely, the blurbs/endorsements on the back cover of the second edition showcase reviews by a very diverse (to say the least) set of mass market publications (eg. NY Times, Electronics Magazine, Saturday Review of Literature), as if this book were a fun sunday afternoon's read: "lucid, direct....as readable by the layman as the trained scientist". Yeah. I highly doubt any of the reviewers mentioned in the blurbs really read the book (much less the even more mathematical first edition). It may be a fun read for the "layman" if the layman happened to be employed as a post-doctoral research fellow in signals and communications labs, certainly. But for the rest, may i humbly recommend a prerequisite of an undergraduate engineering degree to get the perspective and thrust of ideas Wiener wants so much to impart.
If you have an engineering degree somewhere, it can be a very profitable read. The only bones I have to pick are that this is an amazingly top-down book in 200 pages. Wiener tackles his subjects on from such a high conceptual level, that he can not go into the more pedestrian level which is also an extremely interesting discussion of the many themes he touches. (But then I feel no book should be more than 200 pages in today's time!) How can you drink from a fire hose? Verry carefully! But the fire hose has it's purpose too!
It is also important to read this book in the context that this author represents the culmination of the knowledge of computer theory at the very point of the introduction of computers into broader society. Prior to this, they were mathematical department curiosities. Certainly WW2 played a part. Then there is a strange leap to the "Whole Earth Catalog" level. So from a historical perspective and to understand historical milieu it is also a significant work.
"Cybernetics typically denotes the interdisciplinary study and strategic deployment of communicative control processes in "complex systems" constituted by humans, other animals, machines, and the rest of living-nature. In what follows, I wish to suggest an even broader use of this term. Cybernetics, not simply as a field of techno-science research and application, but as a term connoting the most far-reaching of ultramodern forms of social control. In this sense, I will be using the phrase, social cybernetics, to provisionally configure the fluid, high speed, and densely layered webs of communicatively driven positive and negative "feedback" which, this very moment, affect the ways you are receiving my words. This is a story of how loops of cybernetic feedback are informing the energetic ritual organization of power between ourselves and others. Within the fast-flexible boundaries of global capital, the most dominant, but certainly not all, of these feedback loops carry a masculine, heterosexist, and racially inscribed charge. This is a history of the present." Stephen Pfohl [...] Such is the effect upon readers of Cybernetics by Norbert Wiener.
Find out why robotics, neural nets and artificial intelligence (AI) predate the PC and even the mainframe computer and are not a new development. Travel back to the days of the giant ENIAC when the computer seemed to be an idea on everyone's mind, simply waiting for advances in technology to make it a reality. But this very readable book goes further, as suggested in Wiener's subtitle: "Control and Communication in the Animal and Machine." Many specialists in various fields initially opposed this book because of Wiener's interdisciplinary approach, which broke down the hard and fast walls between various disciplines.
The vocabulary of this book has now become commonplace (we ask for "feedback" and refer to "systems" on a daily basis), but many of its ideas have yet to be discovered. I couldn't keep up with the math, but you don't need to to grasp the basic ideas or to enjoy Wiener's lucid and luminous style, which ranks among the best of popular science writing. Wiener also wrote a general market book, "The Human Use of Human Beings" to present some of these ideas to a wider audience. Some fifty years after its initial publication, this book still forms an inviting welcome to the machine.