Dark Hero of the Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener, the Father of Cybernetics

Overview

Child prodigy and brilliant MIT mathematician, Norbert Wiener founded the revolutionary science of cybernetics and ignited the information-age explosion of computers, automation, and global telecommunications. His best-selling book, Cybernetics, catapulted him into the public spotlight, as did his chilling visions of the future and his ardent social activism.Based on a wealth of primary sources and exclusive access to Wiener’s closest family members, friends, and colleagues, Dark Hero of the Information Age ...

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Dark Hero of the Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener, The Father of Cybernetics

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Overview

Child prodigy and brilliant MIT mathematician, Norbert Wiener founded the revolutionary science of cybernetics and ignited the information-age explosion of computers, automation, and global telecommunications. His best-selling book, Cybernetics, catapulted him into the public spotlight, as did his chilling visions of the future and his ardent social activism.Based on a wealth of primary sources and exclusive access to Wiener’s closest family members, friends, and colleagues, Dark Hero of the Information Age reveals this eccentric genius as an extraordinarily complex figure. No one interested in the intersection of technology and culture will want to miss this epic story of one of the twentieth century’s most brilliant and colorful figures.

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Editorial Reviews

Clive thompson
Wiener was both brilliant and personally intriguing, an absent-minded professor straight out of central casting. As a character, he was larger than life; as a scientist, he was smaller than history.— The New York Times
Clive Thompson
Wiener was both brilliant and personally intriguing, an absent-minded professor straight out of central casting. As a character, he was larger than life; as a scientist, he was smaller than history.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465013715
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman are award-winning journalists and the authors of the bestselling Snapping: America’s Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change and Holy Terror: The Fundamentalist War on America’s Freedoms in Religion, Politics, and Our Private Lives. They live in New York City. Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman are award-winning journalists and the authors of the bestselling Snapping: America’s Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change and Holy Terror: The Fundamentalist War on America’s Freedoms in Religion, Politics, and Our Private Lives. They live in New York City.

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