Introduction by Steve Joshua Heims 'Norbert Wiener helped to build and inform our high-tech society. A mathematician with dirty hands, he moved easily between theory, invention and engineering. . . . The manuscript of this unpublished 1954 book was found long after Wiener's death, and is only now available. It's inevitably out of date here and there, but the uncannily accurate predictions and warnings at its heart bring credibility to advice and insights that are all too relevant to our present situation.' -- J. Baldwin, Whole Earth Review 'The mark of a great book is that it should be relevant well beyond its time, and this volume by Wiener is precisely that. In lucid, enormously readable language, Wiener provides a whistle- stop tour of the history of science and technology from the start of civilisation, charts the growth and decline of intellectual and practical excellence, and uses many examples - such as the development of paper - to show that tools and the skills to realise a design in practice must be available for inventiveness to flourish.' -- Scientists for Global Responsibility Newsletter Internationally honored for brilliant achievements throughout his career, Norbert Wiener (1894-1964), Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was an insightful observer of the role of science in society. This book, written in 1954 but only now published for the first time, can be read as a salutary critique of events in science that Wiener accurately predicted and a chance to rethink the components of a social and political climate that encourages inventiveness.