Saturday, October 31, 2015

the Cybernetics Group de facto think tank

the review of David Livingstone's book Transhumanism on says this whole thing started with
The Cybernetics Group. searching for that, I found a copy on google books, but
not set up to be read online. the review says that "This is the engaging story of a moment of transformation in the human sciences, a detailed account of a remarkable group of people who met regularly from 1946 to 1953 to explore the possibility of using scientific ideas that had emerged in the war years (cybernetics, information theory, computer theory) as a basis for interdisciplinary alliances. The Macy Conferences on Cybernetics, as they came to be called, included such luminaries as Norbert Wiener, John von Neumann, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, Warren McCulloch, Walter Pitts, Kurt Lewin, F. S. C. Northrop, Molly Harrower, and Lawrence Kubie, who thought and argued together about such topics as insanity, vision, circular causality, language, the brain as a digital machine, and how to make wise decisions.Heims, who met and talked with many of the participants, portrays them not only as thinkers but as human beings. His account examines how the conduct and content of research are shaped by the society in which it occurs and how the spirit of the times, in this case a mixture of postwar confidence and cold-war paranoia, affected the thinking of the cybernetics group. He uses the meetings to explore the strong influence elite groups can have in establishing connections and agendas for research and provides a firsthand took at the emergence of paradigms that were to become central to the new fields of artificial intelligence and cognitive science.In his joint biography of John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener, Heims offered a challenging interpretation of the development of recent American science and technology. Here, in this group portrait of an important generation of American intellectuals, Heims extends that interpretation to a broader canvas, in the process paying special attention to the two iconoclastic figures, Warren McCulloch and Gregory Bateson, whose ideas on the nature of the mind/brain and on holism are enjoying renewal today.Steve J. Heims, once a research physicist, has devoted his attention to the history of twentieth century science for the past two decades."
two things jumped off the page.
that Margaret Mead was involved.
that the brain is viewed as a digital computer.
I think the latter is an error, though some of the synapse firing is like this I
think it operates either also or more like an analog computer. If this is correct,
then the foundation of cybernetics applied to the brain is flawed.
in a digital system, something is either on or off and the strings of 0s and 1s
reflect this condition, so that an incredible string of such is needed to state
something fairly simple.
In an analog system, it is more comparable to the flow of water in a hose, full on,
restricted in varying degrees, full off.
Margaret Mead "was a respected and often controversial academic who popularized the insights of anthropology in modern American and Western culture.[2] Her reports detailing the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures influenced the 1960s sexual revolution. She was a proponent of broadening sexual mores within a context of traditional Western religious life. As an Anglican Christian, Mead played a considerable part in the drafting of the 1979 American Episcopal Book of Common Prayer."
Basically she worked from the presupposition, stated or not I don't recall, that
the "primitive" is closer to original humanity and therefore a proper model. This may
have been partly driven by her personal inclinations. While three marriages (one to
a man who researched sorcery in eastern Papua) is not necessarily that big of a
problem one wonders what she was up to before and between her marriages. at least
one possible lesbian relationship is indicated and "In her writings she proposed that it is to be expected that an individual's sexual orientation may evolve throughout life."
"In 1976, Mead was a key participant at UN Habitat I, the first UN forum on human settlements."
this looks a bit like an ancestor to Agenda 21, though it goes in a rather
opposite direction in disliking urbanization, which Agenda 21 would maximize, while
pushing everyone out of the rural scene including small farmers. The huge amount
of proposed off limits to humans shown spaces on the map would mean camping and
fishing and hunting trips are ruled out also.
Kurt Lewin was a great scientist, but he also had a theory of change, which while
it might be an accurate picture of acquiring radical new information and applying
it, is essentially amoral, doesn't suggest sorting what to dump and what to retain
and why, and is a blueprint for messing with the public mind.
"An early model of change developed by Lewin described change as a three-stage process.[14] The first stage he called "unfreezing". It involved overcoming inertia and dismantling the existing "mind set". It must be part of surviving. Defense mechanisms have to be bypassed. In the second stage the change occurs. This is typically a period of confusion and transition. We are aware that the old ways are being challenged but we do not have a clear picture as to what we are replacing them with yet. The third and final stage he called "freezing". The new mindset is crystallizing and one's comfort level is returning to previous levels. This is often misquoted as "refreezing" " atheist aside from anything else.
"was a logician who worked in the field of computational neuroscience.[1]
He proposed landmark theoretical formulations of neural activity and generative processes that influenced diverse fields such as cognitive sciences and psychology, philosophy, neurosciences, computer science, artificial neural networks, cybernetics and artificial intelligence, together with what has come to be known as the generative sciences. He is best remembered for having written along with Warren McCulloch, a seminal paper entitled "A Logical Calculus of Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity" (1943). This paper proposed the first mathematical model of a neural network. The unit of this model, a simple formalized neuron, is still the standard of reference in the field of neural networks. It is often called a McCulloch–Pitts neuron."
Norbert Wiener "Norbert described his father as calm and patient, unless he (Norbert) failed to give a correct answer, at which his father would lose his temper.
He became an agnostic." hmmmm. often one's theological tendencies get shaped by
experience of parental behavior or misbehavior, probably because one doesn't
separate the behavior from the belief (or lack thereof) or go check the Scriptures
to see if the person is acting in accord with or against what is taught as right.
While it doesn't say this experience influenced him, a failure to note the timeframe
involved (instant reaction by his father vs. decades or centuries before God
cracked down big time after lots of warnings and offers of forgiveness and over far
more important things than math wrong answers) might have got him equating God with
his father. Stalin was once an altar boy or something like that, got a vicious
verbal assault for a minor error from a priest or bishop and ended up an atheist and
hating the church. "Northrop was personally acquainted with and close to a great number of leading figures in philosophy, politics, and science. These included G. H. Hardy, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schroedinger, Hermann Weyl, Norbert Wiener, Mao Zedong, John Foster Dulles and Mohammed Iqbal, among many others. For instance, see the dedication to "Man, Nature, and God.""
off the top that's two crackpot philosophers one Communist tyrant and near demigod,
and Dulles the architecht of acquisition of Nazi scientists and agents and part of
the JFK coverup and other dirty stuff, and a poet (poetry is hypnotic and induces altered states of consciousness in the readers and hearers, I read once that in
ancient times the swedes considered a love poem a kind of psychic attack, a spell)
who essentially founded the disastrous Pakistan movement along with Jinnah, the latter
praised by ex British intelligence WW 2 agent (who used his experience on how a
man sounds when dying of being stabbed, having stabbed him, to duplicate this in
a scene he played as an actor later) Christopher Lee. One wonders what British
Intelligence maybe had to do with creating the Pakistan mess perhaps revenge for
Indian independence?
Lawrence Kubie was harder to locate, perhaps for good reason. maybe this background
is dealt with in some references to a Dr. Lawrence Kubie psychiatrist, but the
serious dirt, if this is the same man, is at this link. use "find" in "edit" be sure
to spell his name k u b I E don't forget the I or you miss it kubie.
the computer as such has ancestors in the 1800s in Europe, in China in the crude
calculator the abacus (with that name it sounds like it came from an arab land or
was named by an arab before it got to China) and even something the antikythera
device found on a sunken ancient mediteranean ship. adding complexities of
purpose and function and electricity ramped it up. printing function added and you
get onscreen typing on the one hand, and actual printouts on the other.
yep, that was Dr. Lawrence S. Kubie

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to see you are giving a detailed review of David Livingstone's well written book.