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May 1952

Transactions of the Seventh Conference on Cybernetics, New York, March 23-24, 1950.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1952;89(5):856-857. doi:10.1001/archinte.1952.00240050170013

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Cybernetics is defined in a subtitle as "circular causal and feedback mechanisms in biological and social systems." The conference was made up of seven mathematicians and engineers, seven neuropsychiatrists, four psychologists, three biologists, and three from the social sciences—an able and articulate group! Seven of these presented material for discussion. R. W. Gerard talked on "Some of the Problems Concerning Digital Notions in the Central Nervous System." This paper is important to cybernetics, as defined. It deals with the difference between analogical systems, where continuous processes are measured, and digital systems, where discrete phenomena are counted. For example, in nystagmus it is a question whether one is dealing with repetitive activity of individual components or more continuous activity of reverberating circuits. In regard to the resemblance of the human brain to a calculating machine, Gerard wisely says: "To take what is learned from working with calculating machines and communication systems,

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