The Human Use of Human Beings ; Cybernetics and Society by Norbert Wiener
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Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950. Inscribed by Norbert Wiener. First edition. Hardcover. 241 pages ; 21 cm. $3.00 dust jacket. Previous owner name on the front free endpaper. No other markings within this book. Binding is firm.
THE Human Use of Human Beings
CYBERNETICS & SOCIETY
by Norbert Wiener
This is a revolutionary book by one of the great scientific minds of our time. In it Dr. Wiener applies his already famous theory of "cybernetics" ( communication and control in the man and the macnine) to our daily lives. He believes that "any use of a human being in which less is demanded of him and less is attributed to him than his full status, is a degradation and a waste."
Just as speech is the great achievement of •man in contrast to the lower animals, so the recent technical advances in communication have raised man's capacity for good and evil beyond anything hitherto dreamed of. Long ago the steam engine made the human right arm obsolete as a principal source of power; today there exist so-called "mechanical brains," with built-in "memory" and capacity to learn, which can do routine mental jobs better than any man, and which therefore make the untrained mind a drug on the market. Even man's own individuality "is that of a form rather than a bit of substance. . . . The fact that we cannot telegraph the pattern of a man from one place to another is probably due to technical difficulties.
Dr Norbert Wiener, a Professor of Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the sponsor of the new science, Cybernetics. "1 made up the word 'cybernetics' from the Greek word for 'steersman,' the steersman of a ship. It comes from the same root as 'governor' and refers to control and communication in the animal and the machine," Dr. Wiener explains. His textbook on the subject, Cybernetics, caused a sensation in scientific circles and also had a wide general sale.
Dr. Wiener, born in 1894, was graduated from Tufts College at the age of fifteen and received his Ph.D. from Harvard at nineteen. He took advanced studies at Cornell and Columbia, Cambridge, England; Gottingen and Copenhagen, and taught at Harvard and the University of Maine before joining the staff of M.I.T. in 1919. Since then, his achievements in mathematics have brought him international recognition. He was joint recipient of the Bocher Prize of the American Mathematical Society in 1933, and in 1936 was one of the seven American delegates to the International Congress of Mathematicians in Oslo, Norway. While on leave from M.I.T. in 1935-36, Dr. Wiener served as Research Professor of Mathematics at the National Tsing Hua University in Pekina, China. During World War Il, he devised a method of solving problems of fire control, and developed improvements in radar and certain Navy projectiles.
A member of the American Mathematical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the London Mathematical Society, Dr. Wiener explains his background thus: "I was brought up in an atmosphere where it was expected that a person would write. My training was as much classical as scientific. I got my classical education from my father, the late Leo Wiener, who was Professor of Slavic Languages at Harvard. My scientific education I got for myself."