Norbert Wiener Award

Today the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) gave me the 2008 Norbert Wiener Award:

In 1987, CPSR began a tradition to recognize outstanding contributions for social responsibility in computing technology. The organization wanted to cite people who recognize the importance of a science-educated public, who take a broader view of the social issues of computing. We aimed to share concerns that lead to action in arenas of the power, promise, and limitations of computer technology.

Posted on January 26, 2008 at 2:11 PM46 Comments


Tman January 26, 2008 3:48 PM

I very much enjoy your blog and look forward to it each day. Thanks for pointing out all the idiocy spoon fed to us daily from our government. You deserve all the recognition possible. Congratulations.

ForReal January 26, 2008 6:13 PM

Norbert Wiener is no price, but a handicap to the human race. Neither the mind nor thought is digital. I would be disgraced.

Spike January 26, 2008 6:42 PM

I’m sort of with ForReal. But not entirely…not digitally. And disgraced seems pretty harsh, though a point is made.

Mr. Schneier, you certainly have a unique awareness into the human sense of self with a complex understanding that security is an aspect that can’t be ignored.

Though I appreciate the perspective that the presence of something reveals the presence of something else, such is dependent origination. So this.getThis() is this and that, quantumly (did I just make that word up?).

I wonder if you applied for this award or if it was awarded entirely on its own. Either way, it recognizes something for sure. Bruce, you had me at ‘Cryptonomicon’.

You rock BS. Heh. Double meaning that, eh? And this().

Eam January 26, 2008 7:08 PM

Congratulations, baby. Seems like you’ve earned this award… or disgraceful handicap or whatever.

Carlo Graziani January 26, 2008 8:00 PM

“A handicap to the human race”?

Get an education.

Norber Wiener, whatever his politics, was one of the most important scientists of the twentieth century. He made seminal contributions to quantum mechanics, and to statistical theory. He invented (with Kolmogorov) the theory of stochastic functions, and supplied much of the intellectual infrastructure that Claude Shannon later turned into information theory.

The “cybernetics” revolution that he initiated and led didn’t pan out, but that was far from obvious at the time, and to excoriate it for not being “digital” is positivist (i.e. crap) science history. It was an exciting and cross-disciplinary intellectual movement that led to important spinoffs in fields from AI to biology.

Bruce’s prize is named for one of the most distinguished scientists of any age. Even if it is given for public-policy contributions rather than for strictly technical achievement, I would personally regard it as a great honor if one were heaved my way. Bruce, bask, you deserve it.

RonK January 27, 2008 3:52 AM


Hope this doesn’t mean you’ll have to write your passwords on slips of paper to remember them, now…. do you even have a daughter to come and save the day with your PasswordSafe? 🙂

unary January 27, 2008 4:10 AM

…….and people snigger at me when i write “schneierist” in the “religion” text box……like i’m the freak…..

mazeltov bruce.

(i feel better about moving the bookmark from my “moderate procrastination” folder to “required reading” already…..)

Chuck Norris January 27, 2008 5:27 AM

Congratulations. All that’s left to do now is run for office and get those morons runing the TSA to get out of the country!

Paul Renault January 27, 2008 9:04 AM

That’s a mighty impressive list of recipients! It looks good on ya, Bruce!


rdivilbiss January 27, 2008 10:07 AM

Schneierist? Hummm. Maybe we need a website devoted to Schneiertology.

We can get a bunch of rich Holloywood types to contribute and fund more security research based on the teachings of Schneier.

Rich Gibbs January 27, 2008 11:13 AM

Congratulations on the award, which I think is very well-deserved. I’m sure you get a fair amount of flak for being relentlessly sensible about some of our public “sky is falling” security measures — but keep up the good work.

unary January 27, 2008 11:21 PM

“Schneierist? Hummm. Maybe we need a website devoted to Schneiertology.

We can get a bunch of rich Holloywood types to contribute and fund more security research based on the teachings of Schneier.”

actually, we’re a perfect forward secrecy cult whom are trying to reverse engineer bruce schneier…but we’re having issues breaking the encryption on his dna so we’re a little dead in the water at the moment…

Basil January 28, 2008 12:59 PM

Why can’t important scientists have cooler sounding names? Congratulations, you deserve the recognition, however I wish Mr. Wiener’s parents had named him something more fierce sounding than “Norbert” 😉

havvok January 28, 2008 1:06 PM


Perhaps his parents did society a service by giving him a name that children might mock. The result being that a sad and lonely Norbert turned to academia as a comfort?

Bob February 1, 2008 2:31 AM

I’ll say first, congratulations. I am very happy for you.

But I have to say it, Huh Huh, you got the Weiner Award.

Sorry, I am just in that kind of mood.

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.