A word from Wiener's biographers
Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman (authors of Dark Hero of the Information Age: In Search of Norbert Weiner, the Father of Cybernetics, and keynote speakers at the 2014 21CW Conference in Boston) shared their thoughts with us on the continued significance of Wiener's work and the upcoming Melbourne event:
"At this moment, as the 21st Century and its new technologies roll faster around the world and deeper into every corner of our daily lives, Norbert Wiener -- the man who laid the foundation of this vast enterprise and the one who worried most over its human impact -- would have much to say to us now about our interactions and relationships with thinking machines and all the new intelligent devices we have created in our image.
No doubt his foremost priority would be to remind us about our collective responsibilities to ensure that all these new machines, and the programs we write into them, uphold our human values, our human capacities for choice and individual decision-making, and our bonds with one another in our societies and cultures. Wiener would remind us, most of all, that if we throw these responsibilities onto machines they will come back seated on a whirlwind, not only of technology run wild, but of men and women who may become so narrow in their thoughts and actions that they become for all intents and purposes 'an element in the machine.' Finally, Wiener would remind us to safeguard and value above all that unquenchable spark of humanity in every person...for there lies glory and the future."
- Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman