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God and Golem Inc

God and Golem Inc

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Published by: Kool_Joe on Oct 30, 2010
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NORBERT WIENER
"GOD
AND
GOLEM,
Inc.,
A Comment
on
Certain Points whereCybernetics Impinges
on
Religion
THE M.I.T. PRESS
Massachusetts Institute
of
TechnologyCambridge, Massachusetts
 
Preface
Some years ago, in
The Human Use of HumanBeings,*
I gave an account of some of the ethicaland sociological implications of my previous work
Cybernetics,^
the study of control and communi-cation in machines and living beings. At thatperiod, cybernetics was a relatively new idea, andneither the scientific nor the social implicationshad become fully clear. Now—some fifteen yearslater—cybernetics has made a certain social andscientific impact, and enough has happened tojustify a new book in a related field.The problem of unemployment arising fromautomatization is no longer conjectural, but hasbecome a very vital difficulty of modern society.The cybernetic circle of ideas, from being a pro-gram for the future and a pious hope, is now a
* Wiener, N.,
The Human Use of Human Beings; Cy-bernetics and Society,
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston,1950.f Wiener, N.,
Cybernetics, or Control and Communicationin the Animal and the Machine,
The Technology Press andJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1948.
[Vii]
 
working technique in engineering, in biology,in medicine, and in sociology, and has undergonea great internal development.I have given more than one series of lecturestrying to outline the impingement of this circleof ideas on society, ethics, and religion, and Ithink the time has come to attempt a synthesis ofmy' ideas in this direction, to consider more indetail the social consequences of cybernetics. Thisbook is devoted to certain aspects of these conse-quences, in the discussion of which, although Iretain the ideas and many of the comments whichI made in the
Human Use of Human Beings,
Ican consider the matter more in detail and morecompletely.In this undertaking, I wish to acknowledge thegreat help I have received from the criticism ofmany friends on both sides of the Atlantic, es-pecially from Mr. Piet Hein of Rungsted Kystin Denmark, from Dr. Lawrence Frank of Bel-mont, Massachusetts, and from Professor KarlDeutsch of Yale University, as well as from manyothers. In addition, I wish to thank my secretary,
Mrs.
Eva-Maria Ritter, for her assistance in thepreparation of this material.I found an opportunity to elaborate my ideasin a course of lectures which I gave in January of
[ix]
1962 at Yale University, and in a seminar thatwas held in the summer of 1962 at the ColloquesPhilosophiques Internationaux de Royaumontnear Paris. However, this book, though containingmaterial from my talks at both these places, hasbeen completely rewritten and reorganized.With gratitude to the many who have helpedin this effort.Norbert Wiener
Sandwich, New HampshireAugust 30, 1963
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