Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 30

Cybernetics for
a Cyberworld
Standing on the Shoulders
of Norbert Wiener

by Peter A. Hancock

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MSMC.2015.2442191
Date of publication: 16 September 2015

30

IEEE SYSTEMS, MAN, & CYBERNETICS MAGAZINE A pr il 2015

path [13], it
was Wiener's oeuvre that exerted arguably the greatest impact in this
area [15]-[17]. It certainly did have an
impact on me [5]. It may come as a surprise to
some who associate Wiener specifically with the areas of
engineering, computation, and applied mathematics that his
insight generated such a profound and widespread influence
across so many disciplines. However, given the present readership, I suspect this will be no surprise at all.
My own personal odyssey in this matter continued with a more elaborated focus upon how humans
2333-942X/15©2015IEEE

GEAR IMAGE © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/COBALT88,
WIENER IMAGE COURTESY OF MIT

W

hile people are
generally aware
of many of the
nominal personalities of their day,
they are, for the most part, unaware of
the scientists who have moved their world.
One such scientist was Norbert Wiener. His
enlightening insights into the nature of feedback, i.e., cybernetic systems, had a profound
impact upon our world. I experienced his influence,
which permeated my own earliest scientific endeavors,
as I looked to model and understand the regulatory functions of such feedforward and feedback capacities as they
applied to physiological (i.e., homeostatic) forms of bodily
functional stability [2], [3].
Following the seminal observations on the circulation of
blood by William Harvey, Claude Bernard and, subsequently,
Walter Bradford Cannon (who coined the term homeostasis)
noted the importance, for life, of a state of dynamic balance between an organism and its environment. Heavily
influenced by Darwin, this perspective provided a critical
foundation for the science of living systems. But before Wiener, the framework and language for formalized modeling of
these insights had not been fully realized. While information
theory certainly represented one important step along this


http://www.ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/COBALT88

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015

Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 4
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 5
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 6
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 7
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 8
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 9
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 10
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 11
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 12
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 13
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 14
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 15
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 16
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 17
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 18
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 19
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 20
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 21
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 22
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 23
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 24
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 25
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 26
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 27
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 28
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 29
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 30
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 31
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 32
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 33
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 34
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 35
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 36
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 37
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 38
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 39
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 40
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 41
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 42
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 43
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 44
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 45
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 46
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 47
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 48
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_1017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0717
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0417
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0117
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_1016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0716
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0416
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0116
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_1015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0715
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0415
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0115
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com