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Norbert Wiener on Control - Dictionary of Arguments

Brockman I 44
Control/artificial intelligence/machines/Wiener/Dennett: Wiener foresaw the problems that Turing and the other optimists have largely overlooked. The real danger, he said, is
“that such machines, though helpless by themselves, may be used by a human being or a block of human beings to increase their control over the rest of the race or that political leaders may attempt to control their populations by means not of machines themselves but through political techniques as narrow and indifferent to human possibility as if they had, in fact, been conceived mechanically.”(1)
Dennett: The power, he recognized, lay primarily in the algorithms, not in the hardware they run on, although the hardware of today makes practically possible algorithms that would have seemed preposterously cumbersome in Wiener’s day.


1. The Human Use of Human Beings (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1954), 181.

Dennett, D. “What can we do?”, in: Brockman, John (ed.) 2019. Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI. New York: Penguin Press.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

WienerN I
Norbert Wiener
Cybernetics, Second Edition: or the Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine Cambridge, MA 1965

WienerN II
N. Wiener
The Human Use of Human Beings (Cybernetics and Society), Boston 1952
German Edition:
Mensch und Menschmaschine Frankfurt/M. 1952

Brockman I
John Brockman
Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI New York 2019


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-10-06
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