The prefix “cyber” means “computer,” “computer network,” or “virtual reality.” It is used in compound words like “cyberart,” “cyberspace,” and “cybernetics.” The original Greek root kybernetes, however, literally means “steersman.” How do the senses of “steering” and “computers” intersect? The man who coined the term “cybernetics” may provide an answer.
While use of the prefix boomed with the widespread use of the Internet in the 1990s, its English origin dates back to 1948, when U.S. mathematician Norbert Wiener came up with “cybernetics,” the study of human control functions and of mechanical and electronic systems designed to replace them. Weiner applied statistical mechanics to engineering, paving the way for computer programming. In cybernetics, human knowledge creates and guides electronic systems, metaphorically steering them.
I knew every chip in Bobby’s simulator by heart; it looked like your workaday Ono-Sendai VII, the “Cyberspace Seven,” but I’d rebuilt it so many times that you’d have had a hard time finding a square millimeter of factory circuitry in all that silicon.
Gibson used the term again in his 1984 novel “Neuromancer,” in a passage that many believe captures the sense of wonder that permeated the introduction of the World Wide Web to mainstream culture. Here’s an excerpt:
Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding.
Can you relate to the technological experience Gibson describes? Share your thoughts, below.
It’s fascinating how words can start out meaning one thing and then come to mean something else entirely.
That quote from William Gibson’s Neuromancer is as prophetic when describing the Internet now as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is as prophetic when describing the totalitarian regimes of today.
Interesting how the meanings of words evolve over time. By the way, Norbert “Wiener” is spelled two different ways in this article (I’m guessing one is a typo).
“…when U.S. mathematician Norbert Wiener came up with “cybernetics,” the study of human control functions…”
“Weiner applied statistical mechanics to engineering…”
Whereas the word “cyber” has its actual application, I think nano is pretty damn overused these days. It’s totally become a buzzword far divorced from its original meaning in nanotechnology.
@Stuart: I was totally thinking the same thing. Almost eerie in its accuracy.
Correctly it is– ‘e-cyber’-Monday as distinguished from the gas-dynamic-cyber-Monday computers with micro-dynamic flow-gates, invented in the 1960’s for steering aircraft while avoiding EMP and other electronic hazards.
(Those were cute little flowgates: Like teenie-tiny men: The gas flowed in via the head, and out either leg: switch-steered by pressure on the arms.)
But why is Cyber Monday on Monday?
What I can relate from Gibson’s description to the technological experience is enhancing input data through computer engineering followed by programmable processing system to reach several desired outputs.
Having said, “unthinkable complexity”, is a matter of continual development property which is can be carried by next developer generation. Similarly, the use of digital element where its wave pattern upgradeable to infinity limit from one generation to the next generation of developers.
That explains the first half. Now I’m waiting for the post about the origin of “quill.”
… U.S. mathematician Norbert Wiener came up with “cybernetics,” the study of human control functions and of mechanical and electronic systems designed to replace them. Weiner applied statistical mechanics …
So which is it? Wiener or Weiner?
You know, you never actually said what Cyber Monday was.
I’ve read most of Gibson’s books, including the ones mentioned hear. His concept of “cyberspace” from the Sprawl Trilogy is not what the Internet is today, not yet, not by far. I can only think of one nation that approaches “1984″, North Korea. If you want a scarier analogy to most of today’s overly powerful governments, then read Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”. Even the United States is not that far along yet, but one can see the groundwork being laid.
how wonderful is the world of computer and technology.it seems as if human beings are in the know of everything.
With the exception of the first paragraph, where the origin of the term is explained, the rest of the article gets lost in the meaning of “cyber” and forgets the original intent. I believe it to be somehow obvious that the “marketing strategy” was to motivate people to buy things online (hence “cyber”) after the “big” opportunity for in-store purchases on “Black Friday” passed, but the article does not mention it, or any other explanation, anywhere.
WOW THIS IS VERY COOL TO LEARN!!!!!!!! THANKS
Raymond, humans are “less” in the “know” about everything… I’d say now they are more quickly ill-informed and must swim greater distances to knowledge.
Stuart- WOW- creepy… I had just finished saying a very close statement to a co-worker before reading your post- AWESOME~
FERRET~ HMMM… Black Monday- CYBER-MONDAY because it is monday the first “full workday/weekday” after Thanksgiving, where most folks generally have more time to be on computers…(at work- less family around at home vying for online time~
LOVE WORDS & LITERATURE~ ONLY BY KNOWING THE MEANING CAN ONE BE INFORMED & THERE BY EDUCATED~
just by looking at the picture looks so tight just want toooo read it <,.
I’m going to be ‘that guy’ and just say that calling the the first week-day after Thanksgiving ‘Cyber Monday’ is pretty ridiculous. I cannot believe that somebody would make up a name for a day that is not even a holiday on a week-day and expect people to like it.
P.S. Cyber Monday is a stupid name anyway.
What a strange world in which we live!!!!!!!!
WHAT IS CYBER MONDAY
ccooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllllllllllll somone talk to meeeeeee
. . . . he was actually describing “Mete-Data” which means,
he was even more ahead of his time than any of us that actually knew him, knew!!!
hehe im a 7th grade student taking notes on cyber monday right now
[...] up all that Credit Card Debt and enjoy your CYBER MONDAY — MONDAY MONDAY — MONDAY — A SPACE of many sub cultural meanings — with [...]
It’s called ‘Cyber Monday’ because before fast internet access became wide spread people would wait until they got to work on Monday to jump on the net and buy stuff – or maybe they just like to buy stuff on their company’s time – either way, they waited until the Monday after Thanksgiving to start their Holiday shopping online.
Pfft… i agree with alot of the comments above (except baby123, she can GTFO). So, from what i’ve collected, Cyber Monday is just a marketing ploy in order to get people to buy computing equipment on the monday after Black Friday… Though sadly that is only to be inferred by this vague post about Cyber Monday.
As the author of this post i believe it is your duty to inform us of our continous question…
WHY IS IT CALLED CYBER MONDAY???
@Sabrina (Xanan too): the other aspect of doing on-line shopping while at work is that prior to the last 5-10 years most people had pokey old dial-up connections (56k !!) at home and higher speed connections at work so less time was required to get anything done on-line if one was at the work PC vs. the home PC. Also, employers were not as savvy (or not doing as much) about internet abuse at work so there were not devices (Websense, etc.) to monitor different types of on-line activity.
Cyber-Monday is not near the phenomenon that it was 5-10 years ago for the reasons that most people now have faster connections on their home computers so they do not need to wait for Monday to shop, and many employers now have system software that prevents much of the on-line shopping that people used to do at work on the first Monday.
It’s neat that almost every word has its roots in Greek, it a very cool language.
@ im a student: Haha, same here.
Next person to say “Cyber Monday” is gonna get smacked by me…
why not goofy names for the other shopping mediums and days of the week?
home shopping network wednesday
oh and don’t forget
no way i’m shopping today! sunday
Well said, Shane cross, very few people are privy to that information. This also reminds me of a certain phrase which has been turned awry. The word “Gay” originally referring to a very happy or exuberant person has now in almost ever mind in America been twisted to mean that the term refers to a homo-sexual. It indeed does not, and I will not conform to the new use of this term we have so ungrudgingly excepted.
cyber monday is analogous to gargantuan online traffic…The online shopping sites are in snail-paced manner to process an order.
i used to think the world’s funniest name was enkilbert humperdink but now i know for a fact that it’s really norbert weiner… lol