Welcome to the November 2015 newsletter for the Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century conference on Thinking Machines in the Physical World (Melbourne, AZ; July 2016).
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Conference Newsletter
Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century:
Thinking Machines in the Physical World

November 2015: Norbert Wiener’s Melbourne Connections
We are officially eight months away from “Conference Kick-Off,” and want to use this newsletter to answer the question you’ve all been asking—“Why Melbourne?” After all, with Norbert Wiener’s M.I.T. institutional affiliations, the 2014 Boston event made sense. But what connections link Wiener to Melbourne?
Here’s the story: back in the 1920s Wiener applied for a position at the University of Melbourne’s maths department. His application was unsuccessful, which meant that he ended up at M.I.T. And the rest, of course, is cybernetics history. Wiener himself never did come work in Melbourne; however, we are happy, at long last, to welcome him to the city and to celebrate his continued legacy in the twenty-first century.
Although the University of Melbourne missed its chance to bring on Wiener as a faculty member, it does boast an important link to cybernetics in the figure of Manfred Clynes. A 1946 graduate from the university, Clynes coined the term “cyborg” in a 1960 paper on “Drugs, Space, and Cybernetics” (which he co-authored with Nathan S. Klein). He was awarded the university’s prestigious D.Sc. degree in 1964, and later became a professorial associate at the Psychology Department.
The vastly interdisciplinary scope of Clynes’s career—he has worked as a concert pianist, neuroscientist, computer scientist, and inventor, and has been as devoted to studying the emotions as to developing technological innovations—makes him an inspiration for our “Thinking Machines in the Physical World” conference.
As always, we invite you to check out the CFP, visit the conference website, and add your name to our linkedin group. In addition, join our mailing list to receive monthly conference newsletters that feature:
  • Interviews with confirmed keynotes Prof. Thomas Kailath (Stanford University), Prof. Brian Anderson (ANU), Dr. James Hughes (Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies), and the IBM Watson team
  • Details about the conference location, venue, special events, and excursions
  • Important reminders as we continue along the Conference Count-Down
  • Recent media stories and scholarly articles related to Norbert Wiener and “Thinking Machines”
We look forward to seeing you in Melbourne in July 2016!
November Conference Count-Down: 
2 weeks: Special Session Proposal Deadline (1 December 2016)
3 months: Paper or Abstract Submission Deadline (14 February 2016)
4 months: Confirmation of Acceptance (14 March 2016)
5.5 months: Complete Papers Due (30 April 2016)
8 months: Conference Kick-Off (13 July 2016)
Check out the September 2015 special issue of Technology and Society Magazine, where you can read articles from four keynote addresses (Mary-Catherine Bateson, Andrew Pickering, Bruce Schneir, and Flo Conway & Jim Spiegelman) and four panelists from the 2014 "Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century" conference in Boston, MA. 
"The Computer that Knows What You're Thinking": In this BBC article, Jane Wakefield explores some new emerging possibilities for technologies with "emotional intelligence"--their potential abilities, uses, and implications.
Image: Thinkstock
"The Doomsday Machine": In this New Yorker article, Raffi Khatchadourian speaks with philosopher Nick Bostrum about his book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, and exploration of the potential implications of artificial intelligence in our world.
"Don't Fear the Robots": In this New York Times article, Steve Lohr explores how software programs, rather than physical robots, demand our most immediate attention when it comes to the implications of artificial intelligence technologies in our present world.
Image: Andrew Rae
Plus, keep up to date with the latest reports on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics as presented in the popular press via Science Daily and Scientific American.

This is one of a series of Conference newsletters. 
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To submit ideas for inclusion in future installments of "Wiener in the Media,"
please contact Heather A. Love, Newsletter Editor

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