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--Ted Nelson

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Frontier | Revolution | Power | Symbiosis

The frontier of the Information Revolution appears in the 1940s with the dawn of cybernetics, the science that studies flexible, humanlike systems. Mathematician Norbert Wiener founds this science of communications and control, realizing the power of adaptability and interactivity in technology that acts like biology. Cybernetics describes how regulatory feedback allows both human bodies and machines to respond to unexpected changes in the environment and correct for them. After World War II, Wiener and others apply the concept to social systems, history, and politics.

Engineer Vannevar Bush embraces the idea that mechanical entities can be modeled on human beings when he proposes a theoretical machine that would link the world's information in the same associative way as the mind. Mathematicians Alan Turing and John von Neumann construct the logical framework for the modern digital computer, using the language of mathematics to model the adaptive human brain and its memory. Human nervous systems, computer systems, social systems, and economic systems come to be thought of as resembling one another.

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