Cybernetics: the vital notions of entropy and information (I)

My STS Sketchbook

In 1948 Norbert Wiener published his book « Cybernetics or Control and Communication in animals and machines, » a treatise in which he postulated the creation of science Cybernetics. On the basis of Gibbs’ statistical mechanics, to which he attributes the revolution over Newtonian physics long before Einstein and quantum mechanics, Wiener compares the performance of self-regulating machines to that of living beings through the fundamental notions of information, feedback, homeostasis and freuquency correlation (or resonance), among others. Many of his results arise from the application of his knowledge of electrical circuits to the animal nervous system, others from the understanding of organic processes as schemes of self-regulation, translatable to automata. A number of technical challenges and the subsequent proposal of a new agenda of scientific problems were made possible through intensive collaboration between Wiener and experts from many different fields (biologists, engineers, computer scientists, anthropologists …), whose landmark were the conferences…

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« Fifty shades of green »: Bruno Latour on the ecomodernist manifesto

ENTITLE blog - a collaborative writing project on Political Ecology

by Bruno Latour*

Presentation to the panel on modernism at the Breakthrough Dialogue, Sausalito, June 2015

Wake up you ecomoderns, we are in the Anthropocene, not in the Holocene, nor are we to ever reside in the enchanted dream of futurism. Down to earth is the message I hear, but unfortunately not in the ecomodernist manifesto.

There is one thing more difficult than to tell good from evil, it is to decide which time we are in, which epoch, and which land we have our feet on. I was reminded of that difficulty Saturday at the border when the police officer, after having asked me what research I was doing, and on learning that I work on environment with a special interest in the drought, retorted:  “Drought, which drought? Have you not read the Bible, it is all there, 7 years dry, 7 years wet. I have been in California for forty years, it’s always like this, it never fails…

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