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Development of communication science, computer science and cybernetics in the 1940s – 1950s

Journal: History of science and technology (Vol.9, No. 15)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 186-196

Keywords : history of science; theory of information; theory of communication; management; noosphere;

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Abstract

This publication presents the emergence of the new sciences that are most important for today's world: communication science, cybernetics, the theory of information, and the theory of the noosphere in the 1940s – 1950s. The purpose of this article is to analyze the total scientific achievements in Eurasia at the time of the Second World War. This was a bright phenomenon in the formation of new revolutionary theories. Works of Chicago-based and Frankfurt-based schools of thought, the theoretical concepts of T. Adorno, M. Horkheimer, H. Lasswell, P. Lazarsfeld, аnd other researchers laid the foundations of the communication science and contributed to the breakthrough in a number of the key subject areas. A system approach to and a comparative analysis of the causes and subsequent consequences of the achievements at that time for today's world served as a methodological basis for a comprehensive consideration of large-scale studies of the past. The scientific novelty of this historic study consists in the interdependence and complementarity of the theoretical and practical achievements in the 1940s and rethinking of their importance in the structure of concepts in the 20th century. Industrial and military goals associated with the automatic management and communication processes required fundamentally new approaches and achievements. When World War II broke out, N. Wiener worked on these problems aiming at creating a computer, which pushed him to the idea that the principles of managing biotic and abiotic systems are the same and to the cybernetic concept development. In the mid-1940s, J. von Neumann built the first digital computer. In 1945-1947, A. Turing worked, as an inventor of “a universal machine”, on the “electronic brain” project and was the first to develop a number of programs for it. In 1942, C. Shannon published his work dedicated to the theory of information permitting a constellation of researchers to lay the foundations of the theory of communication. V. Vernadsky's noosphere concept proposed in 1944 was particularly important. At present, the ideas of that period are gaining new importance as a basis for the single planetary management system.

Last modified: 2019-12-15 00:04:59