Hidrogênio em Wiener (1989 [1950])

The cause celebre in 1954 in the USA was the Oppenheimer case. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who had directed the building of atom bombs during World War II, had subsequently come to disagree with the politically dominant figures in the government who were eager to develop and build with the greatest possible speed hydrogen bombs a thousand times more powerful than the atom bombs which had devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Oppenheimer urged delay, as he preferred that a further effort be made to negotiate with the Soviet Union before proceeding with such an irreversible escalation of the arms race. This policy difference lay behind the dramatic Oppenheimer hearings, humiliating proceedings at the height of the anti-Communist ‘McCarthy era’ (and of the US Congressional ‘Un-American Activities Committee’), leading to, absurdly, the labelling of Oppenheimer as a ‘security risk’. (Steve J. Heims, in: Wiener 1989 [1950]:xviii)

The computing machine represents the center of the automatic factory, but it will never be the whole factory. On the one hand, it receives its detailed instructions from elements of the nature of sense organs, such as photoelectric cells, condensers for the reading of the thickness of a web of paper, thermometers, hydrogen ion-concentration meters, and the general run of apparatus now built by instrument companies for the manual control of industrial processes. These instruments are already built to report electrically at remote stations. All they need to enable them to introduce their information into an automatic high-speed computer is a reading apparatus which will translate position or scale into a pattern of consecutive digits. Such apparatus already exists, and offers no great difficulty, either of principle or of constructional detail. The sense-organ problem is not new, and it is already effectively solved. (Wiener 1989 [1950]:156)

WIENER, Norbert. 1989 [1950]. The human use of human beings: cybernetics and society. London: Free Association Books.