FROM NEWSPEAK TO CYBERSPEAK PDF

Philip J. Davis in Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics News Party leaders Leonid Brezhnev and Mikhail Suslov view the latest model of the MIR-1 computer In this book, Slava Gerovitch argues that Soviet cybernetics was not just an intellectual trend but a social movement for radical reform in science and society as a whole. Followers of cybernetics viewed computer simulation as a universal method of problem solving and the language of cybernetics as a language of objectivity and truth. With this new objectivity, they challenged the existing order of things in economics and politics as well as in science.

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ISBN It follows the trend in Soviet politics of using newspeak, defined as political words that are devoid of meaning in and of themselves, as a way to allow discussion of many topics without actually giving concrete meanings to those words. In newspeak, words can have any meaning that the speaker chooses to attach to them, enabling the speaker to be politically correct while still continuing to have discussions about research in any field. Fluency in cyberspeak was a must in order to survive.

The focus of From Newspeak to Cyberspeak is the history of how Soviet ideological language and the language of cybernetics are intertwined. Each one comes to define the other in an almost tautological manner. As each adjusts to the other, both become less meaningful. Where the expectation in the west is that science is neutral and it is the use to which it is put which may create ideological issues; in the Soviet Union ideology took precedence over all else, even to the point of expecting all scientific theories to be accepted a priori regardless of Western proofs to the contrary.

There is a good sense of the parallels between the Soviet Union and the West as Gerovitch relates scholarship in both parts of the world, overlapping each other in time and often in the people that have relationships in both worlds.

By , texts in the Soviet Union were recognizing that cybernetics could be applied to many areas including the social sciences and the scramble to invoke Marxist authority began. By it was obvious that cyberspeak had become politicized and by the main task of Soviet cybernetics was to be a tool to be used to ensure government control of Soviet economics and individual technological processes.

After October of , when Brezhnev came to power, Soviet cybernetics was no longer a vehicle of change but had become status quo. All information would come from computers that would be as available to Soviet citizens as the water and lights in their homes. Cybernetic projects mushroomed, as did institutions and agencies that dealt with computing.

This, of course, did not happen. In conclusion, Gerovitch asks a very interesting question. He asks if the story of Soviet cybernetics is unique. He suggests that the discussions of cybernetics on both sides of the Iron Curtain served similar purposes. We have come to identify so completely with computers that we cannot help but speak cybernetics and its sister language cyberspeak. Cybernetics is the language of the computer and cyberspeak is the language we use to talk about that computer.

He suggests that if we can take both computers and ourselves less seriously then maybe cybernetics can shed cyberspeak and become a language of intellectual freedom once more.

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Slava Gerovitch

Endorsements An exceptionally lively and interesting book. This is by far the best informed and most insightful account of cybernetics in the Soviet Union. David Holloway Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History, Stanford University Cybernetics was among the most important intellectual movements of the midth century. Nowhere was its curious blend of mathematical technique, ideology, information technology, and postmodern scientific universalism more controversial, or more interesting, than in the Soviet Union during the early Cold War. Slava Gerovitch is among the first scholars to command the linguistic skills, the cultural resources, and the historical awareness to offer a definitive account. From Newspeak to Cyberspeak not only sheds new light on the byzantine intellectual world of the Soviet Union, but holds up a fascinating mirror to the West as well.

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From Newspeak to Cyberspeak: A History of Soviet Cybernetics

Followers of cybernetics viewed computer simulation as a universal method of problem solving and the language of cybernetics as a language of objectivity and truth. With this new objectivity, they In this book, Slava Gerovitch argues that Soviet cybernetics was not just an intellectual trend but a social movement for radical reform in science and society as a whole. With this new objectivity, they challenged the existing order of things in economics and politics as well as in science. The history of Soviet cybernetics followed a curious arc. In the s it was labeled a reactionary pseudoscience and a weapon of imperialist ideology.

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From Newspeak to Cyberspeak

ISBN It follows the trend in Soviet politics of using newspeak, defined as political words that are devoid of meaning in and of themselves, as a way to allow discussion of many topics without actually giving concrete meanings to those words. In newspeak, words can have any meaning that the speaker chooses to attach to them, enabling the speaker to be politically correct while still continuing to have discussions about research in any field. Fluency in cyberspeak was a must in order to survive. The focus of From Newspeak to Cyberspeak is the history of how Soviet ideological language and the language of cybernetics are intertwined.

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Slava Gerovitch. This book is a marvelous account of the history of cybernetics, and of Soviet cybernetics in particular. Throughout, the author examines his subject through the appropriate lens of language. Gerovitch begins his account in chapter 1, with a discussion of newspeak, the propaganda-sounding ideological language of Soviet discourse. Newspeak was pervasive. Any public endeavor had to be justified according to the rules and terminology of this linguistic medium. Filled with value-laden, meaningless terms such as materialism, formalism, reactionary, subjectivism, and so on that could be applied across a broad spectrum of scientific, social, and political activity, newspeak became the shared language of public discourse.

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