A resource about cybernetics and the work of Norbert Wiener
“The world of the future will be an ever more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence,
not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robot slaves.” — Norbert Wiener
Inspired by the development of new information and communication technologies, Norbert Wiener was a pioneer in the development of what he called cybernetics, the study of “control and communication in the animal and the machine.” Later he came to realize that “the cybernetic circle of ideas, from being a program for the future and a pious hope” to “a working technique in engineering, in biology, in medicine, and in sociology,” had “undergone a great internal development.” Wiener came to understand that the social consequences of cybernetics demanded immediate attention.
Norbert Wiener’s concern about the man-machine relationship and its social implications is explored in this website. The teachings of Wiener and those inspired by him form the beginning of what we hope will be a growing collection of multi-media materials that attempt to inform and inspire dialogue during this pivotal moment in human history when electronic communications challenge humanity’s control of its destiny .
The resources of NorbertWiener.org are offered here to serve and support other educational projects and websites aimed at a new generation of engineers from all fields, design students, and others involved in understanding more deeply the promise of a more humane and ecological approach to the deployment of information communication technologies. While NorbertWiener.org begins with multimedia resources (video, audio, photos, artwork, text) gathered in connection with the ongoing Wiener in the 21st Century bi-annual conferences that began in Boston in 2014, we intend this website to grow to become a stand-alone resource center about the teachings of Norbert Wiener and the study of the social implications of cybernetics that pulls from a broader range of offerings.
Visit our resource center to understand how information communications technologies and cybernetics change, challenge and control human society, and what we humans can do to be more thoughtful creators and users of the new synthetic systems within which most of the planet’s inhabitants are now embedded.
Audio and Transcripts
All conference videos include transcripts and downloadable audio files for offline listening