I came across an interesting idea in the new book I'm reading.
Norbert Wiener, the prominent mathematician, made the fascinating point in the mid 1900's. It goes:
"The thought of every age is reflected in its technique," Wiener asserted shortly after the war. During the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, for example, when figures such as Galileo, Kepler, and Newton were laying the foundations of modern science, the most advanced and evocative technology had been that of the clock, whose gears seemed to move with the timeless, pristine perfection of a planet orbiting the sun. It was no coincidence that seventeenth-century philosophers such as René Descartes had described even plants and animals as organic clockwork mechanisms. Then, during the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century, the defining technology had been that of the steam engine, which was capable of converting vast amounts of energy and heat into work. And again it was no coincidence that scientists of that era had conceived of living organisms as biological heat engines, mechanisms that burned food to do useful physiological work. But now, said Wiener, in the twentieth century, we could perceive the beginnings of a new revolution. Unlike clocks and steam engines, he argued, the emerging technologies of the modern age didn't just operate blindly, forging ahead without any reference to the world around them. Rather, they operated responsively, taking in information from their surroundings to guide their future actions. "The machines of which we are now speaking are not the dream of the sensationalist nor the hope of some future time," he wrote. "They already exist as thermostats, automatic gyrocompass ship-steering systems, self-propelled missiles—especially such as seek their target—anti-aircraft fire-control systems, automatically controlled oil-cracking stills, ultra-rapid computing machines, and the like..."