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Wisdom, J.O. (1949). Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 30:133-137.

(1949). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 30:133-137

Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine

Review by:
J. O. Wisdom

By Norbert Wiener. (The Technology Press: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York; Chapman & Hall, London, 1948. Pp. 194.)

The Nature of Explanation. By K. J. W. Craik. (Cambridge University Press, 1943. Pp. viii + 123.)

'Rhythmic Behaviour of the Nervous System.' By Hudson Hoagland. (Science, 1949. Vol. CIX, pp. 157–64.)

'The Nervous System as Physical Machine: with Special Reference to the Origin of Adaptive Behaviour.' By W. R. Ashby. (Mind, 1947, N.S. Vol. LVI, No. 221, pp. 44–59.)

A good deal of interest has been aroused by the new computing machines invented within the last decade, because of the ideas they suggest about the mode of functioning of the brain and mind. Numbers of collaborators working in different fields have contributed to the formation of a new science known as 'Cybernetics' based on these ideas. Professor Wiener is one of the most important contributors, perhaps the chief, and his is the first book to be written on the subject.

A striking analogy between the machine and the brain is the capacity for storing information and making it available. Perhaps this may be best illustrated by the project of a chess-playing machine, to which a note is devoted. It should be possible to construct such a machine, using principles and devices of the automatic type used on the London Underground Railways. In response to the opponent's move, the instrument would play all possible games for two or three moves ahead. Numerical valuations for these would be assigned according to the 'instructions' given to the machine, e.

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