Development of communication science, computer science and cybernetics in the 1940s – 1950s

  • Denis Kislov Institute of Law and Public Relations Open International University of Human Development “Ukraine”
Keywords: history of science, theory of information, theory of communication, management, noosphere


This publication presents the emergence of the new sciences that are most important for today’s world: communication science, cybernetics, the theory of information, and the theory of the noosphere in the 1940s – 1950s. The purpose of this article is to analyze the total scientific achievements in Eurasia at the time of the Second World War. This was a bright phenomenon in the formation of new revolutionary theories. Works of Chicago-based and Frankfurt-based schools of thought, the theoretical concepts of T. Adorno, M. Horkheimer, H. Lasswell, P. Lazarsfeld, аnd other researchers laid the foundations of the communication science and contributed to the breakthrough in a number of the key subject areas. A system approach to and a comparative analysis of the causes and subsequent consequences of the achievements at that time for today’s world served as a methodological basis for a comprehensive consideration of large-scale studies of the past. The scientific novelty of this historic study consists in the interdependence and complementarity of the theoretical and practical achievements in the 1940s and rethinking of their importance in the structure of concepts in the 20th century. Industrial and military goals associated with the automatic management and communication processes required fundamentally new approaches and achievements. When World War II broke out, N. Wiener worked on these problems aiming at creating a computer, which pushed him to the idea that the principles of managing biotic and abiotic systems are the same and to the cybernetic concept development. In the mid-1940s, J. von Neumann built the first digital computer. In 1945-1947, A. Turing worked, as an inventor of “a universal machine”, on the “electronic brain” project and was the first to develop a number of programs for it. In 1942, C. Shannon published his work dedicated to the theory of information permitting a constellation of researchers to lay the foundations of the theory of communication. V. Vernadsky’s noosphere concept proposed in 1944 was particularly important. At present, the ideas of that period are gaining new importance as a basis for the single planetary management system.


Download data is not yet available.


Hall, E. T. (1959). The Silent Language. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company.

Horkheimer, M., & Adorno, T. W. (1997). Dialektika Prosveshcheniya. Filosofskie fragmenty [Dialectic of Enlightenment. Philosophical Fragments]. Moscow, St. Petersburg: Medium, Juventa [in Russian].

Jensen, K. B., Craig, R. T., Pooley, J., & Rothenbuhler, E. W. (2016). The International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy. (Vols. 1-4). Malden, MA: Wiley.

Kislov, D. V. (2019). Establishment of scientific research in communication studies in the 1920s – 1940s. Istoriia nauky i tekhniky – History of science and technology, 9(1 (14), 99-108.

Kislov, D. V., Romanenko, E. A., & Chaplay, I. V. (2018). Marketingovye kommunikatsii v publichnom administrirovanii [Marketing Communications in Public Administration]. LAP Lambert Academic Publishing [in Germany].

Kuznetsov, M. M. (2011). Opyt kommunikatsii v informatsionnuyu epokhu. Issledovatelskie strategii T. W. Adorno i M. Maklyuena [Communication Experience in the Information Age. Research Strategies by T. W. Adorno and M. McLuhan]. Moscow: IFRAN [in Russian].

Lasswell, H. (1948). The structure and function of communication in society. L. Bryson (Ed.), The communication of ideas. N.Y.: Harper and Brothers, 37-51.

Lazarsfeld, P., Berelson, B. and Gaudet, H. (1944). The People’s Choice: How the Voter Makes up his Mind in a Presidential Campaign. N.Y.: Columbia University Press.

Lerner, A. Ya. (1967). Nachala kibernetiki [The Beginnings of Cybernetics]. Moscow: Nauka [in Russian].

Shannon, C. E. (1948). A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal, 27(3), 379-423.

Shannon, C.E. (1963). Raboty po teorii informatsii i kibernetike [Works on the Theory of Information and Cybernetics]. Moscow: Publishing house of foreign literature [in Russian].

Shvetsova-Vodka, H. (2018). Uchennia pro Noosferu yak pidstava rozvytku nookomunikolohii [The noosphere doctrine as the basis for the development of noocommunology]. Ukrainskyi zhurnal z bibliotekoznavstva ta informatsiinykh nauk – Ukrainian Journal of Library Science and Information Science, 2, available at : (accessed 15 November 2019). [in Ukrainian].

Trager, G. L. & Hall, E.T. (1954). Culture as Communication: A Model and an Analysis. Explorations: Studies in Culture and Communication, N.Y., 3, 137-149.

Vernadsky, V. (1944). Neskolko slov o noosfere [A few words about the noosphere]. Uspekhi sovremennoj biologii – Advances in modern biology, 18(2), 113-120 [in Russian].

Wiener, N. (1983). Kibernetika, ili upravlenie i svyaz` v zhivotnom i mashine. 1948-1961 [Cybernetics or Сontrol and Сommunication in the Animal and the Machine. 1948-1961]. Moscow: Nauka [in Russian].

Abstract views: 582
PDF Downloads: 266
How to Cite
Kislov, D. (2019). Development of communication science, computer science and cybernetics in the 1940s – 1950s. History of Science and Technology, 9(2(15), 186-196.