1949 Essay On ‘The Machine Age’ Is Rediscovered

In 1949 when computers and robots were still the stuff of science fiction, visionary thinker was Norbert Wiener (1894-1964), an American mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was invited by The New York Times to summarise his views about “what the ultimate machine age is likely to be”. Having published the landmark theoretical work Cybernetics the year previously he was clearly the man for the job. The trouble is that thanks to a series of admin fumbles his article never saw the light of day.

Until now when we have a weird sort of time-capsule moment when in December 2012 it was discovered by Anders Fernstedt, an independent scholar researching the work of 20th-century philosopher Karl Popper. Almost 64 years after Wiener wrote it, his essay is still remarkably topical and in the spirit of rectifying an old omission, The New York Times have given us a look at some excerpts.

Machine Age essay fragment

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