The word cybernetics is found in the Gorgias by Plato, it also had a French usage, though Wiener, who later developed the modern form, wasn't aware that the physicist André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836) had already used it for his classification of the sciences to define "how the citizens can enjoy a peaceful time".
In the late 1700s James Watt's steam engine had a governor, a simple feedback mechanism, a cornerstone of cybernetic theory. In 1868 James Clerk Maxwell published an article on governors. In the 1940s the study of regulatory processes became a continuing research effort and two key articles were published in 1943 ( "Behavior, Purpose and Teleology" by Arturo Rosenblueth, Norbert Wiener, and Julian Bigelow and "A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity" by Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts).
Cybernetics as a discipline was firmly established by Norbert Wiener (in Cybernetics, or control and communication in the animal and machine, 1948) and others such as William Ross Ashby and Grey Walter.
While cybernetics is generally thought to have American origins, the book itself was actually published in France where information theory was hailed as a new general discipline which included cybernetics.
When asked why he had chosen the name cybernetics, Wiener replied, "I didn't know what else to call it."
In the spring of 1947, Wiener was invited to a congress on harmonic analysis, held in Nancy, France and organized by the bourbakist mathematician, Szolem Mandelbrojt (1899-1983), uncle of the world famous mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot.
During this stay in France Wiener received the offer to write a manuscript on the unifying character of this part of applied mathematics, which is found in the study of Brownian motion and in telecommunication engineering. The following summer, back in the United States, Wiener decided to introduce the neologism cybernetics into his scientific theory.
Wiener popularized the social implications of cybernetics, drawing analogies between automatic systems such as a regulated steam engine and human institutions in his best-selling The Human Use of Human Beings : Cybernetics and Society (Houghton-Mifflin, 1950).
Cybernetics is somewhat erroneously associated in many people's minds with