Cybernetics is a field of study that has lately raised a lot of interest from scientists and thinkers alike. However, the concept of cybernetics is not a new one, but was used and conceptualized from early ages. The study of information theory and automation was an area of interest and debate even in 1948 when the term was first coined by Norbert Wiener, regarded as the father of Cybernetics.
Considered a famous child prodigy (he received his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the age of 18 from Harvard University), Wiener took interest in different subjects and areas from engineering, communication, mathematics to biology, neuroscience, sociology and philosophy. This multidisciplinary approach and interest was what prompted him to become interested in cybernetics, a field that explores the way organisms (from animals to humans) and more importantly, machines communicate. He studied under famous thinkers of the era (Bertrand Russell, David Hilbert). He worked as a journalist, writer, engineer and university professor. More importantly, during World War II, he worked on missile technology and on the feedback principle which he later analyzed and developed in 1948 in his famous book “Cybernetics”.
Norbert Wiener’s interest and vision of Cybernetics is important because he has inspired scientists to think of computers and technology in general as a mean to expand human abilities. Furthermore, the field has important applications even today as the term has become linked with robotics and artificial intelligence. The first theories about this field have highly influenced the way we think about communication and, more importantly, about IT in relation with humanity. He also warned humanity about the danger of technology taking over humanity. As such, Wiener’s vision and concepts had a powerful influence on future generations, proved by the fact that this field is still of interest today.