[SIGCIS-Members] Cybernetics and Industry

Willard McCarty willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Jun 29 02:29:31 PDT 2018


Among the many other things, be sure not to miss the directive function 
in private life exemplified by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine 
Gilbreth Carey, Cheaper by the Dozen (New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell, 
1948), which was made into a movie by that title (1950), then remade 
(2003). Also, lurking in the background is, of course, the literature on 
automation (Diebold, Zuboff et al), but that's rather far afield? I 
assume Stafford Beer is on your list.

Yours,
WM

On 28/06/2018 23:27, Bjorn Westergard wrote:
> 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)
> 
> Cheers,
> Bjorn
> 
> 
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-- 
Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of
Digital Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western
Sydney University; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20)


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