History of Cybernetics

Taken primarily from Steve Heims, The Cybernetics Group, 1991.
See also: Amer. Soc. Cybernetics
  • Prehistory: Leibniz, Maxwell, Whitehead, Russell
  • 1920, Arms race model, Lewis Fry Richardson
  • 1929, Homeostasis, Walter B. Cannon (1871-1945)
  • 1930, Arturo Rosenbleuth, Wiener's mentor in Cambridge MA
  • 1942, Cybernetics created, and group formed, at Macy conf. on "Cerebral Inhibition".
    The "cyberneticians":
    • Mathematics: Norbert Wiener, John von Neumann, Walter Pitts
    • Engineering: Julian Bigelow, Claude Shannon,
    • Neurobiology: Rafael Lorente de No, Arturo Rosenblueth, Warren McCulloch
  • 1943, McCulloch and Pitts crucial paper
  • 1943, Rosenblueth dropped by Harvard, returns to Mexico
  • 1945, January meeting to plan the new field
    Wiener, Von Neumann, Lorente de No, McCulloch, Pitts, and Bigelow wanted to create a center
  • 1946-1953, Cybernetics diffused by the Macy Conferences [Attendees]
    • Gestalt: via Lewin, Kluver, Harrower (studied with Koffka), Kohler (attended 4th mtg), Teuber, Licklider (res. assoc. of Kohler)
    • LSD: via Fremont-Smith, Abramson, Kluver
  • 1948, Wiener's book, Cybernetics
  • 1945, Gregory Bateson applies Richardson to psyche
  • 1956, Ross Ashby book, Introduction to Cybernetics
  • 1960, second wave, autopoesis, created by Maturana and Varela
  • 1961, Gordon Pask book, An Approach to Cybernetics
  • 1968, First annual symposium of the ASC (Amer. Soc. Cybernetics)
  • 1968, Conf org by Bateson (w/ McCulloch, Pask, MC Bateson)
  • 1969, Heinz von Foerster book, Analysis and Synthesis of Cognitive Processes and Systems
  • 1985, third wave

  • Revised 27 July 2002 by Ralph Abraham, <abraham@vismath.org>