Norvert Wiener on Information : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Recently while surfing I came across a quotation, ascribed to Norbert Wiener. (No reference was given.) Whether or not he wrote it, it seems so appropriate to our present situation that I'm copying it here.
The Manichaean devil is an opponent, like any other opponent, who is determined on victory and will use any trick of craftiness or dissimulation to obtain this victory. In particular, he will keep his policy of confusion secret, and if we show any signs of beginning to discover his policy, he will change it in order to keep us in the "dark". The great truth about this type of enemy is that he is stronger when he is imagined and feared than when he is real. One of man's greatest sources of fear is lack of information. To live effectively one must have adequate information.

-- Tom Carey (, January 23, 1999


Aaargh. I really hate it when I misspell a large, bold title word!

-- Tom Carey (, January 23, 1999.

seems to read ok to me... (very big grin)


-- Critt Jarvis (Wilmington, NC) (, January 23, 1999.

Norvert had his problems, it's true. Lack of intelligence was not one of them. His childhood was somewhat forced.
Norbert Wiener received his Ph.D. from Harvard at the age of 18 with a dissertation on mathematical logic. From Harvard to went to Cambridge, England to study under Russell, then he went to Gvttingen to study under Hilbert. He was influence by both Hilbert and Russell but also, perhaps to an even greater degree, by Hardy.

After various occupations (journalist, university teacher, engineer, writer) in which he was very unhappy, he began a long association with MIT in 1919. His work on generalised harmonic analysis and Tauberian theorems won the Btcher Prize in 1933. He had an extraordinarily wide range of interests and contributed to many areas including cybernetics (a term he coined), stochastic processes, quantum theory and during World War II he worked on gunfire control. His wide dealings with other scientists led him to say "One of the chief duties of the mathematician in acting as an advisor to scientists is to discourage them from expecting too much from mathematics."


-- Tom Carey (, January 23, 1999.

What IS the Zen of "adequate information?"

(computer glitch => Y2K time bomb => terrorism?)


-- Diane J. Squire (, January 23, 1999.

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