DARK HERO OF THE INFORMATION AGE: In Search of Norbert Wiener, the Father of Cybernetics

Flo Conway, Author, Jim Siegelman, Author, Jim Siegelman, Joint Author . Basic $26 (464p) ISBN 978-0-7382-0368-3

One of the central concerns of the current "information age" is the difficulty of ordering and making sense out of the glut of information that flies at us from every direction, at all hours, in increasingly creative and invasive ways. Wiener, the man who gave us the tools to create and nurture this age by founding the science of cybernetics, has fallen prey to that glut, with his legacy and impact largely forgotten and misunderstood. Conway and Siegelman attempt to reassess that legacy, painting a compelling, readable portrait of "a dark hero who has fallen through the cracks in the information age, and of his fight for human beings that is the stuff of legend." The authors, who co-wrote Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change , celebrate Wiener's genius and his voracious appetite for various modes of scientific and social inquiry, and describe how this interdisciplinary mental agility was the key to Wiener's development of cybernetics. At the same time, the authors humanize their subject with revealing but tasteful ruminations on his manic depression, his physical limitations and his sometimes petty and competitive nature. Perhaps most importantly, Conway and Siegelman chronicle Wiener's own awakening to the implications of the science he was pioneering and to the dangers they posed to his future and to ours. Photos. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 01/03/2005
Release date: 12/01/2004
Paperback - 423 pages - 978-0-465-01371-5
Open Ebook - 464 pages - 978-0-7867-3561-7
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