Norbert Wiener

wienerA bureaucracy and a factory are automated machines in Wiener’s view. The whole world — even the universe — could be seen as one big feedback system subject to the relentless advance of entropy, which subverts the exchange of messages that is essential to continued existence (Wiener, 1954). This concept of interdependent communications systems, coupled with Wiener’s assertion that a machine that changes its responses based on feedback is a machine that learns, indicates the distinction between media and cybermedia.

Since Wiener’s time, cybernetics as a discipline experienced a rapid rise (in the 1960s) and a swift decline, but it appears to be on the upswing again because of a broadened perspective. The original foundation of cybernetics was limited to the observation of the states of a system, with the drawback being that the states observed — and defined — were wholly dependent on an observer who was construed as impartial and having no effect on the observed system.

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