Wiener + Macy Meetings + AI - Dr. Paul Pangaro - IEEE SSIT 21CW2021

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#Cybernetics #New Macy Conferences #Norbert Wiener #Human Use

Wiener + Macy Meetings + AI = Piloting a New Course.

The title of Norbert Wiener’s second book is widely misquoted. As was clear in the typesetting of his original title page, he was concerned about “The Human Use of Human Beings” — Wiener’s emphasis on the first “Human” is generally forgotten. His purpose is reinforced by his subtitle, “Cybernetics and Society”, for social contexts are where human beings can conserve or devalue their own human-ness.

This presentation explores specific ways in which humanity is not treating itself so well in our 21st-century era, especially in regard to digital technology, much as Wiener feared when writing in1950. His warnings of de-humanizing automation at the hands of digital machines were prescient, as we now live in the world he feared.

We have seen that our “know-how” about digital machines has supplanted the “know-what” — again in Wiener’s phrasing — because as a society we bolt ahead before considering “what our purpose to be.” Wiener was joined by others in initiating the field of Cybernetics. McCulloch and Mead and von Foerster, gathering a wide array of experts across all the academic disciplines, cut a wide and influential swath with their Macy Conferences.

By combining this legacy of Cybernetics with the inspiration that a revival and revision of the Macy Meetings can bring, we chart a fresh course for addressing the tyrannies of today’s digital tech. Cybernetic concepts give foundation and cybernetic practice guides our actions toward a future more coherent and humane than the one we have today.

his presentation offers actionable paths forward that is restorative of Wiener’s values. As he wrote, “The hour is very late, and the choice of good or evil knocks at our door.”

Wiener + Macy Meetings + AI = Piloting a New Course. 

The title of Norbert Wiener’s second book is widely misquoted. As was clear in the typesetting of his original title page, he was concerned about “The Human Use of Human Beings” — Wiener’s emphasis on...

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