Norbert Wiener: Introduction to cybernetics

rEd. Bollati Boringhieripagg. 229 I have heard about Norbert Wiener (1894 - 1964) several times in the past but a few months ago I was intrigued by a quote in the biography of Alan Turing.

In fact, Turing referred to him as one of the main proponents of information science and of the study of machine learning, a topic of his utmost interest.

Wiener was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 1919.

Child prodigy, his interests embraced every branch of knowledge. He was responsible for the invention of the term "Cybernetics", which he defined as follows: "The study of messages, and particularly of the messages actually in command, constitutes the science of Cybernetics, as It was called by me in a previous book, with a Greek term that means the art of the pilot or helmsman. "

The book to which it refers is "Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine", published in 1948.Nel 1950 instead comes out this book with the original title "The Human Use of Human Beings", or "Use human beings ". In the book the author talks about the America of his time, the problems of education, the development of ideas and the main discoveries related to the possibility of learning machines, those same calculating machines that we all know well as computers and what could be the consequences of their massive use on human society.

Why read this book? "Wiener tells us, explaining the purpose for which the book was written:" Our purpose is to explain the possibilities of the machine in those fields that until now have been considered as the exclusive domain of human activity, but also to warn against the dangers of a grossly selfish exploitation of these possibilities, in a world where human beings must above all import human things. "

Unfortunately, looking at how the world has evolved, I would say that all the worst predictions indicated by the author have occurred.

Happy reading.

Alessandro Rugolo