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From Ancient Greek κυβερνήτης (kubernḗtēs, steersman), from κυβερνάω (kubernáō, I steer, drive, guide, act as a pilot) (whence English govern). The term is attested since at least 1948 in the book Cybernetics by Norbert Wiener, influenced by the cognate term and doublet governor, the name of an early control device proposed by James Clerk Maxwell in 1868.[1] Note also the 1830s French cybernétique (the art of governing). Also doublet of Kubernetes.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌsaɪ.bə(ɹ)ˈnɛ.tɪks/
  • (file)


cybernetics (uncountable)

  1. The theory/science of communication and control in living organisms or machines.
  2. The art/study of governing, controlling automatic processes and communication.
  3. Technology related to computers and Internet.

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  1. ^ Norbert Wiener (1948) Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, New York: John Wiley, page 19:
    We have decided to call the entire field of control and communication theory [] by the name Cybernetics, which we form from the Greek κυβερνήτης or steersman. In choosing this term, we wish to recognize that the first significant paper on feed-back mechanisms is an article on governors, which was published by Clerk Maxwell in 1868, and that governor is derived from a Latin corruption of κυβερνήτης.