Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute

Technical Book

Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine

"Cybernetics" refers to the field of control and communications engineering, and is based on statistical mechanics. Statistical methods and quantum mechanics can be applied to the problem of predicting the future of a system. When this system utilizes feedback in its operation, it becomes similar in operation to the living organism and is covered by the mathematics of servo-mechanisms. Another similarity in function to the human nervous system is found in the ultra-rapid computing machine into which numerical values and logical rules are inserted and which then goes through a cycle comparable to the organism's life cycle. This machine is concerned with the recording, preservation, transmission, and use of information in the form of a decision. It is shown that the mathematical procedures developed for communications engineering, machine calculation, and servo-mechanisms are applicable to human problems of motor dysfunction, formation and recognition of concepts, and the social effects of mass communication. Extensive mathematical derivations are presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved"

N Wiener
cybernetics; control; Newtonian time; Bergsonian time; statistical mechanics; time series; computing machines; nervous system; gestalt; psychopathology;

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