Classifying Original Cybernetics

Cybernetics has been the clear root of Psybertron since I started this venture 20+ years ago, and I’m often at pains to point out it was about human systems from the outset, not about general electro-mechanical computing machines and automation devices, since they didn’t exist when cybernetics was first coined, beyond Shannon & Turing’s thought experiments.

The human system / organisation / communications side of it became known as “the second cybernetics” because despite the original intent, geeks linked computation to “computers” and monopolised its use as “the first cybernetics”. [Note, as well as first and second temporally, we have first second and third orders.]

Fascinating to see James Gleick tweet this letter from The Library of Congress, struggling to classify Wiener’s original Cybernetics:

Human Psychology or Electronic Computing?


See also on Psybertron – Cybernetics #1, #2 & #3


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.