Quote I wish I had to hand when writing Everyware, or: Plus ça change
Norbert Wiener, from Cybernetics: Communication and Control in Animal and Machine:
Those of us who have contributed to the new science of cybernetics thus stand in a moral position which is, to say the least, not very comfortable. We have contributed to the initiation of a new science which…embraces technical developments with great possibilities for good and for evil. We can only hand it into the world that exists about us, and this is the world of Belsen and Hiroshima. We do not even have the choice of suppressing these technical developments. They belong to the age. […] The best we can do is to see that a large public understands the trend and the bearing of the present work, and to confine our personal efforts to those fields…most remote from war and exploitation. As we have seen, there are those who hope that the good of a better understanding of man and society which is offered by this new field of work may anticipate and outweigh the incidental contribution we are making to the concentration of power (which is always concentrated, by its very conditions of existence, in the hands of the most unscrupulous). I write in 1947, and I am compelled to say that it is a very slight hope.
A profoundly pre-Foucauldian read on “power,” to be sure, and almost achingly naive in so many ways – but oh boy can I sympathize.