[Cybernetics and engineering]

Sunday, July 08, 1956

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Gilbert Seldes discusses the new world of science... cybernetics, engineering, research, and how to conquer the shortage of people in the field.
He begins by discussing an advertisement seen in the New York Times. He is impressed but cannot wholly understand the "electronic brain." Seldes mentions the book "The Human Use of Human Beings" by Norbert Wiener.
Seldes moves on to discuss the shortage of engineers and researchers in the field, and fewer students enter the these types of courses at American colleges. This is in contrast to the Soviet Union, where they are graduating more engineers than ever before. He speaks of some efforts to increase the number of students pursuing degrees in engineering, cybernetics, and the sciences.
Leads into what makes a person have prestige, and a discussion of H.L. Mencken.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70544
Municipal archives id: LT7532

Hosted by:

Gilbert Seldes


More in:

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About Lively Arts, The

Legendary critic and author of The Seven Lively Arts Gilbert Seldes discusses big-thinking issues in art and life from his characteristically populist perspective.

Simultaneously a timely and visionary program, Gilbert Seldes's The Lively Arts (1953-1956) examines contemporary issues of 1950s television, radio, and theater, as well as current events and the intellectual arts. Seldes, who was the first Director for Television at CBS News and the founding Dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, was also a renowned critic, author, playwright, and editor. As a major social critic and observer, Seldes viewed theater, television, and radio with a prescient eye to the future based on a well-informed understanding of the past. 

These programs feature commentary and discussion on a wide range of topics — from sex and censorship in the movies to progressive education to juvenile delinquency to political campaigning on television — many of which are still hotly debated today. Serving as a precursor to Seldes's television programs and providing an audio context for his seminal books, this show is key to understanding today's cultural commentary.


Supported by