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Soviet Cybernetics

Nekotorye cherty kibernetiki [Some features of cybernetics].

Moscow: Izdatel'stvo "Znanie", 1956. Octavo (21.5 × 14 cm). Original staple-stitched wrappers; [2], 20, [2] pp. About very good; a fragile publication, with spine extremities beginning to split; tiny nick to lower right corner of front wrapper.

One of the very first Soviet publications to openly and fairly discuss the concept of cybernetics, which was treated as a pseudoscience and the product of imperialist ideology for much of the 1950s, until the political "Thaw" initiated by Nikita Khrushchev. Historian Slava Gerovitch writes that "in Soviet public discourse in the early years of the Cold War cybernetics acquired the scandalous reputation of a 'modish pseudo science'," in part due to anti-Americanism (Gerovitch 547). Even early Soviet computer specialists felt the need to publish critical remarks on cybernetics, which they considered 'reactionary' and 'methodologically harmful' (555). While the same scientists actively helped develop the field of computing, especially in the service of the Soviet military, it only became possibly to speak positively about the meritcs of cybernetics and other Western contributions to the field after Stalin's death and the early days of the Thaw. The first Russian translation of Norbert Wiener's "Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine" (1948), which first applied the term cybernetics to self-regulating and self-reproducing mechanical processes, was only able to appear in 1958. The author of the present introduction to cybernetics was Vladimir V. Solodovnikov (1910-1991), a Soviet professor and scholar who was a leading scientist in the field of cybernetics and automatic control theory. KVK and OCLC show four copies, in Amsterdam and Jena, as well as Cornell and Texas A&M.

Book ID: P002964

Price: $250.00