[SIGCIS-Members] Cybernetics and Industry

Bjorn Westergard bjornw at gmail.com
Thu Jun 28 15:27:13 PDT 2018

Esteemed SIGCIS members,

Which are the indispensable histories (and/or shorter historical essays) of
cybernetics that touch on its social context?

I'm particularly interested in the influence of self-styled cyberneticians
on those playing a directive function in private enterprise (industrial/process
engineers, managers, etc.) and vice versa.

This question was prompted by a (characteristically!) gnomic remark of
Wiener's in *The Human Use of Human Beings*, in which he appears to be
quite fluent in "Taylorist" idiom:

"The notion of programming in the factory had already become familiar
through the work of Taylor and the Gilbreths on time study, and was ready
to be transferred to the machine. This offered considerable difficulty of
detail, but no great difficulty of principle." (p150)

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