Past to Future
Springer Verlag 2016
With all of its entailed engagements with epistemology, emergence, and self-organization, cybernetics began (and arguably still is) the science of communication and control in the animal and the machine as it was coined in the subtitle of Norbert Wiener’s field defining book of 1948. While the reflexive turn of second-order cybernetics in the 1970s led the field down new paths (and, unfortunately, to the margins of mainstream academia) in the West, Soviet thinkers continued to develop the control scientific implications of the field in a manner that remained central to the scientific enterprise of that nation. In his densely packed book, Cybernetics: Past to Future (Springer Verlag, 2016), Dmitry Novikov provides a detailed and erudite analysis of the fields development as a kind of meta-science or philosophy of the varied strands of control theory across technological, biological, and social systems. As the current Director of the Institute of Control Sciences of the Russian Academy of Science, Dr. Novikov is eminently qualified to guide readers on a journey through the promises, challenges, disappointments, achievements and future prospects of the science of control and communication that will also introduce a global audience to the work of many eminent Russian thinkers in the field whose work has not been as accessible outside Russia as is deserved.