Norbert Wiener – Governance with Probabilities

By on June 14th, 2021 in Conferences, Human Impacts, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact


3rd Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century

July 22-25, 2021

Prof. T V Gopal, Conference Chair, and Prof. Greg Adamson, Program Chair


 “It is the part of the scientist—of the intelligent and honest man of letters and of the intelligent and honest clergyman as well—to entertain heretical and forbidden opinions experimentally, even if he is finally to reject them.” – Norbert Wiener, God and Golem, Inc.: A Comment on Certain Points where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion, MIT Press, 1964

Transformational technologies provide new opportunities for strategic advantage while challenging even the successful “historical” paradigms. Transformational information systems enable new organizational structures. Essentially transformational technologies are those that “change the basic ways that people and departments work and may even change the very nature of the business enterprise itself”. The transformational technologies major challenge as they shape the dynamics of the new world.

The revolutionary change theories based on the punctuated equilibrium paradigm provide a model of when and how major organizational change occurs. Such changes tend to be highly disruptive, often sudden, paradigm shifts that challenge and undermine the progress leaving deep scars for the futures to manage. Organizational innovation has identified a number of factors that facilitate the introduction and implementation of new technologies in an incremental manner with a clear distinction between administrative and technical factors. The unplanned growth of Information and Communication Technologies has blurred the boundaries of every organization. The impact of technology on the functioning of organizations is today warranting the inclusion of the social contexts. The most important such context is the “Global Village”.

The term “global village” means all parts of the world as they are being brought together by the internet and other electronic communication interconnections. The challenge of governance is facilitate the growth of a given organization as an entity in relation to the “Global Village”. The governance cannot be e-Colonization that builds on the enumeration of the possible states in assuring an equilibrium.

The word possibility is derived from the Latin word “possibilitas” which means able to be done. A possibility is simply an acknowledgment that something can or may occur. No guess is involved, just the recognition that it is not impossible. In a “global village” there is no end to enumerating possibilities. Hence the governance tends to be centralized and the quest is to ensuring a homogeneity all levels. Chaos may then be better anticipated. However, the system is deterministic and even a small change takes much time. Global communities and organizations stand to lose many opportunities.

“Among the simplest and most important ensembles of physics are those which have a spatially homogeneous character.” – Norbert Wiener, Homogenous Chaos

The word probability is derived from the Latin word “probabilitas”, which means provable. Probability is degree of likelihood that whatever being considered shall in fact transpire, presuming it is not an absolute certainty or impossibility. A branch of maths, probability is a science of calculating those degrees, expressed like an odds-making proportion. In the strictest since, the word probability may refer to something with a great chance of happening or a small chance of happening, but in actual use, the word probability is most often used when talking about something that has a greater chance of occurring.

Cybernetics is by far the most comprehensive governance model with effective feedback controls necessary to make the “Global Village” progress with flourish.

The 21st Century Norbert Wiener Conference with the theme: “Being Human in a Global Village” is the third in a series of conferences initiated by the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT), following events in Boston (2014) and Melbourne (2016). The 2020 edition has been postponed to 22 – 25 July 2021 due to the global pandemic crisis. The 2021 event invites us to consider how we – as policy makers, parents, citizens, business owners, researchers, humans – need to be proactively preparing for a new world in light of the challenges coming our way in the form of artificial intelligence, or machine learning. For instance, young people need to be flexible and adaptable as the workplace in 20 years’ time will be very different from today.

This conference will have three general themes:

  • The state of technologies initiated by Wiener.
  • The social impact of those technologies.
  • Wiener’s 1950s engagement and travels in India.

We thank the Board of Governors of IEEE SSIT for fully sponsoring the 3rd 21st Century Norbert Wiener Conference scheduled at the CEG Campus, Anna University This conference is a part of the 225 years celebrations of the CEG Campus of Anna University.

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IEEE 3rd Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century

“The world of the future will be an even more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence, not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robot slaves.” –  Norbert Wiener, The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society


  1. Fedorowicz J., and Konsynski, B, “Organizational support systems: bridging business and decision processes”, Journal of Management Information Systems, Vol. 8, No. 4, Pp 5-25, 1992.
  2. Gibson C.F and Jackson B.B, “The Information Imperative”, Lexington Books, Lexington, MA, USA, 1987.
  3. Michalinos Zembylas and Charalambos Vrasidas, “Globalization, information and communication technologies, and the prospect of a ‘global village’: promises of inclusion or electronic colonization?”, Journal of Curriculum Studies, Vol.37, No. 1, Pp 65-83, 2005.
  4. Norbert Wiener, “The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society”, Eyre & Spottiswoode, UK, 1950
  5. Norbert Wiener, “The homogeneous chaos”, American Journal of Mathematics, Vol. 60, Pp 897-936, 1938.
  6. Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa and Blake Ives, “Introducing Transformational Information Technologies: The Case of the World Wide Web Technology”, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Vol. l, No. l, pp. 95-126, Fall 1996


Prof. T V Gopal is Conference Chair of the 3rd Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century. He is Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Anna University, Chennai – 600 025, INDIA. Mobile: +91 9840121302. email: ;

Prof. Greg Adamson is Program Chair of the 3rd Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century. He is Associate Professor (honorary) at the School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia. email: