[Humanist] 27.859 real-world cyborgian machines?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Mar 9 10:11:32 CET 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 859.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 08:54:45 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: imagining cyborgian machines

I am collecting examples of real-world machines imagined in human or
biological terms, especially of computers or systems in which computers were
essential, from the time of WWII until the end of the Soviet Union. My
tthree prime examples so far are: 

(1) John von Neumann's First Report on the EDVAC (1945), which is full of
neurophysiological terminology taken from Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts'
1943 paper; 

(2) the Final Report of the Air Defense Systems Engineering Committee
(1950), in which the proposed system to defend the U.S. against Soviet
nuclear bombers is described quite literally and at length as a cyborgian
organism (This report is a gem, just declassified by the U.S. Air Force, but
quoted from by Evelyn Fox Keller and Thomas Hughes in the mid 1990s); 

(3) Stafford Beer's Cybersyn Project in Allende's Chile, studied by Eden

I'm not looking for biological entities imagined as machines, rather the
other way around. I am also excluding anything that was not actually 
constructed or could not have been built at the time. 

All suggestions most welcome!

Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Research Group in Digital
Humanities, University of Western Sydney

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