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God & Golem, Inc.

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  75 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
The new and rapidly growing field of communication sciences owes as much to Norbert Wiener as to any one man. He coined the word for it-- "cybernetics." In "God &; Golem, Inc.," the author concerned himself with major points in cybernetics which are relevant to religious issues. The first point he considers is that of the machine which learns. While learning is a prope ...more
Paperback, 110 pages
Published March 15th 1966 by Mit Press (first published January 1st 1964)
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Charles Straney
Oct 04, 2015 Charles Straney rated it it was ok
Definitely not worth picking up, despite its awesome title and neat cover design. Wiener is rambling, self-consciously florid and ultimately regurgitates some of the most facile musings on his theme of 'cybernetics + religion' one can possibly imagine.
H Watkins-Gultiano
In a little Thai Buddhist tract about the Kalama Sutta, how to deal with an overabundance of options, I read a line about computers. That is, though they are powerful, the mind of the designers of the gadgets/tools/programs is that which sets the intention of the device/program's interaction within and between the beings using and/or used by it. Since these minds aren't necessarily held to any standard of enlightenment or even humanistic morals, the tract advises: "computer's shouldn't be worshi ...more
Oron Propp
Jul 26, 2014 Oron Propp rated it liked it
In this essay, Norbert Wiener discusses the areas of cybernetics, his intellectual progeny, with capacity to impinge upon religion. While Wiener's development of the technical, cybernetics component of the topic is thorough and interesting, the moral and religious perspectives presented are severely lacking. Moreover, Wiener's pursuit of a three-pronged thesis results in relatively disparate sections and ideas, although some overarching themes are ultimately discernible, accompanied by remarkabl ...more
Andy Oram
Sep 17, 2015 Andy Oram rated it liked it
Shelves: politics, technology
This is a useful historical text to consider in debates about how far to entrust decisions to search engines, expert computer systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other automated agents. Wiener, succinctly and with persuasive examples, makes an argument similar to Joseph Weizenbaum's Computer Power and Human Reason about the necessity of drawing on the judgment of people. Short as it is, this book meanders somewhat. One could easily become derailed near the beginning with some highly speculati ...more
Arthur Gershman
Nov 22, 2012 Arthur Gershman rated it it was amazing
In reviewing this book I feel a little like Icarus. I feel afraid to fly to close to the sun of Norbert Wiener's genius, herein exposed full force. For example, have you ever been asked the chicken and egg question? Norbert Wiener answers thusly, "a hen is merely an egg's way of making another egg.." Contrast this with "The Selfish Gene" which took Richard Dawkins a whole book to say. (See my review of this book elsewhere at
The subtitle sets forth, in brilliant compaction, the theme
Sep 24, 2013 Carlos rated it really liked it
Para darnos una idea de cómo avanza el mundo podemos tomar como ejemplo esta maravillosa obra "God & Golem Inc." del padre de la cibernética Norbert Wiener quien plantea tres problemas éticos que eran (y siguen siendo) fundamentales en el desarrollo de tecnología:
1. Las máquinas que son capaces de aprender.
2. Las máquinas que pueden reproducirse.
3. La sincronización entre máquina y persona.

La lectura aborda estos temas dentro de su contexto histórico (1963) y es interesante ver como lo
Sandeep Mertia
Oct 06, 2013 Sandeep Mertia rated it liked it
Book Review – God and Golem, Inc. by Norbert Wiener

“Knowledge is inextricably intertwined with communication, power with control and the evolution of human purposes with ethics and the whole normative side of religion.”

The above statement, to my mind, is founding Wiener’s quest for looking in to where and how cybernetics impinges on religion. He casts the book as a primer to the study of relationship or links between cybernetics and religion; acknowledging the violence he may cause by venturing
Maxwell Foley
May 30, 2016 Maxwell Foley rated it it was ok
I blindly picked this up because it was short and the cover was really provocative. It might have been more revelatory at the time it was written, but it's basically a fairly standard discussion of concepts surrounding AI and technological singularity, presented in a not-incredibly-compelling way.
Mar 14, 2014 Whoof rated it really liked it
This is an extraordinarily prescient little book
Feb 11, 2015 Thomas rated it liked it
this was sorta interesting i guess but it's pretty dated, there's not really anything novel here.
Brittany Tobiason
Mar 17, 2009 Brittany Tobiason rated it really liked it
I am a huge Norbert Wiener fan and even went through a period of carrying a book of his around as a safety blanket. The endeavor of this book and the sparks off it are reason enough to own it, as far as I'm concerned. That said, I find that the work feels truncated: it ends too soon and does not synthesize and solidify its conclusions in Weiner's usual very clear and characterful style. It's as though he just stopped writing it.
Ovidiu Neatu
Dec 08, 2012 Ovidiu Neatu rated it really liked it
The author emphasizes more on the human-machine relationship and speaks about the posiblity of self-learning,self-reproducing machines and other cybernetic related stuff.

Some things are obsolate and what you can find in this book you can find in most of the new popular science books - those including Artificial Inteligence topics.
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