The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society Study Guide

The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society

The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society by Norbert Wiener

Cybernetics is a field of study that arises out of information theory and automation. Norbert Wiener introduced the field in his book Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine . The presentation in that book is technical and not easily accessible to a layman. Wiener sought to popularize the ideas presented there in this book.

The rise of statistical mechanics and the discovery of entropy lead scientists to world view of indeterminacy and contingency. In such a universe chaos is more likely than order. Yet order does exist. How this order persists and increases is the study of cybernetics. Life and some recent devised machines are capable of increasing order through the use of feedback to alter behavior. The human ability to make such life-like machines gives insights into how these processes work.

As much or more than other sciences, cybernetics impacts society at large. It has implications for political, judicial and scientific organizations. It points to new definitions of humanity and the changing role of people in relationship to machines.

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