The Cybernetic Brain

The Cybernetic Brain

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Cybernetics is often thought of as a grim military or industrial science of control. But as Andrew Pickering reveals in this beguiling book, a much more lively and experimental strain of cybernetics can be traced from the 1940s to the present. The Cybernetic Brain explores a largely forgotten group of British thinkers, including Grey Walter, Ross Ashby, Gregory Bateson, R. D. Laing, Stafford Beer, and Gordon Pask, and their singular work in a dazzling array of fields. Psychiatry, engineering, management, politics, music, architecture, education, tantric yoga, the Beats, and the sixties counterculture all come into play as Pickering follows the history of cyberneticsa€™ impact on the world, from contemporary robotics and complexity theory to the Chilean economy under Salvador Allende. What underpins this fascinating history, Pickering contends, is a shared but unconventional vision of the world as ultimately unknowable, a place where genuine novelty is always emerging. And thus, Pickering avers, the history of cybernetics provides us with an imaginative model of open-ended experimentation in stark opposition to the modern urge to achieve domination over nature and each other.Mrs. Ashby to Mai von Foerster, 5 August 1973; BCL archive: S.N. 11/6/26; EN. 1. ... 2079 and 2083, a€ and includes a sketch of the wiring diagram (reproduced here as fig. ... 2431-32), and on 16 March 1948, he could again exclaim: a€œTriumph!

Title:The Cybernetic Brain
Author:Andrew Pickering
Publisher:University of Chicago Press - 2010-04-15


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