Response 10 - John Xu Norbert Wiener describes cybernetics...

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John Xu 11/1/07 Norbert Wiener describes cybernetics using analogies between humans and machines. He specifically refers to the neurophysiology of animals as a comparison to mechanical activity. Most important is the concept of feedback. “Mr. Bigelow and I came to the conclusion that an extremely important factor in voluntary activity is what the control engineers term feedback ” (6). It is this example that most closely correlates with the analogy of the neural network in humans. Initially Wiener provides the example of “a feedback that is too brusque” in relation to a rudder, which will cause it to overshoot. Following this example, Wiener describes the action of picking up a pencil. Here, he says, “there must be a report to the nervous system , conscious or unconscious, of the amount by which we have failed to pick up the pencil at each instant” (7). Furthermore, just like in a machine, it is possible for the nervous system to function improperly, resulting in a condition known as ataxia. Even at the cellular level, the similarities
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