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Fig 4.16 – Cybernetics

Text: Pages 202 and 204

In 1948, Norbert Wiener (1894–1964), a participant in the Macy and Cybernetic Conferences, defined cybernetics as the study of the structure and function of information-processing. Cybernetics was the circular causality or feedback loop where outcomes or biological and social system actions were evaluated as inputs for further action. Wiener was interested in how mechanical and biological systems maintained homeostasis by automatically utilizing feedback from their activities.

Rooted in the Greek kubernetes, meaning “steersmen,” symbolic of a “helmsman” who maintains a steady course in a changing environment by adjusting their steering in response to the inputs needed for action. Wiener was one of the first to theorize that all intelligent behavior was the result of feedback mechanisms that could be simulated by machines, providing an important early step towards the development of artificial intelligence.

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