Cybernetics, Second Edition: or the Control and by Norbert Wiener

By Norbert Wiener

Acclaimed one of many "seminal books... similar in final significance to... Galileo or Malthus or Rousseau or Mill", Cybernetics was once judged through twenty-seven historians, economists, educators, and philosophers to be a kind of books released through the "past 4 decades," that may have a considerable effect on public concept and motion within the years ahead." -- Saturday evaluation

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Additional info for Cybernetics, Second Edition: or the Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine

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In one of the shortest scientific papers ever to win its author a Nobel Prize, Nash used a combination of symbolic logic and advanced mathematics to prove the ubiquity of his trap in noncooperative situations—that is, situations in which the parties are not willing or able to communicate. Before Nash published his paper, our frequent failure to cooperate with others for mutual benefit was usually thought of in terms of our psychology or our morality, or both. These are obviously important factors, but Nash demonstrated that a deepseated problem in logic often lies at the heart of such problems, and that it can frequently be the dominant factor.

This sounds like a good idea in theory, but in practice the same problems are still there, albeit in different forms, which means that those of us who live in democracies shouldn’t be too complacent. We may not have absolute 0465009381-Fisher 8/25/08 12:07 PM Page 28 28 | ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS rulers, but we frequently have a majority or majorities that are in a position to suppress the interests of minorities, and often do. Small groups of people can also carry disproportionate power, especially when wealth is involved.

Game theorists combine these two diagrams into one, which still contains all the information, but which can be harder to interpret at a glance without practice: Frank Confess Don’t Confess Confess 4 , 4 0 , 10 Don’t Confess 10 , 0 2 , 2 Bernard This type of diagram makes the pairs of outcomes obvious, with Bernard’s on the left and Frank’s on the right in each cell. , their only choices are [0,10] or [10,0]). If we add little corridors between the cells, with the proviso that Bernard can only move from one choice to another in the vertical direction while Frank can only move horizontally (as is obvious from the earlier diagrams), and we follow their chosen movements by putting the arrows back, it becomes clear why Frank and Bernard are in such a pickle.

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