Herman Kahn with Anthony Wiener, 1960s
Hudson Institute mourns the loss of Anthony J. Wiener, author, professor, and valued Institute founding member who died on June 19 at age 81. He is remembered for his many contributions to Hudson for his innovations in futurist thinking and for the creation of long-range forecasting methods that remain influential today in government, business, and academia.
Wiener collaborated closely with Hudson founder Herman Kahn on the book The Year 2000, published in 1967, which proposed a new way to think about the future through complex multi-fold scenarios. The book forecast numerous technological advances for the new millennium—home computers, online banking, videoconferencing, 3D movies, and many other breakthroughs which hold true today.
Along with Hudson co-founders Kahn and Max Singer, Wiener helped create the modern "think tank" in 1961. At Hudson, Wiener served as Chair of the Research Management Council and oversaw the Institute's research strategies.
Wiener believed in centrist nonpartisan policy solutions and served as an aide to Patrick Moynihan on urban policy during President Richard Nixon's administration. He was also a consultant on future scenarios to the government, institutions, and businesses such as NASA, the Stanford Research Institute, and Shell Oil. He was Associate Editor of Technology in Society for three decades and a professor of Technology Management at what is now the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
The New York Times quoted Hudson President and CEO Kenneth R. Weinstein as saying that Wiener's The Year 2000 is "remarkable for its sophisticated methodology at a time when advanced computer modeling was still far off. More than simply extrapolating from trends observed in the 1960s, it tried to calculate the complex and unexpected ways the future was going to be different."
To read the New York Times obituary, click here.
To read a chapter excerpt from Wiener and Kahn's The Year 2000 on "The Use of Scenarios," click here.
To read a chapter excerpt from Wiener and Kahn's The Year 2000 on "Ways to Go Wrong," click here.
Tribute from Hudson Institute Co-Founder Max Singer
Hudson has lost one of its earliest leaders and formative influences, Tony Wiener, who died last week in New Jersey at age 81.
Tony, who had been a good friend of mine at the Harvard Law School, was one of the first people to join us when we started Hudson on the United Nuclear Corporation campus in Eastview, NY, in the summer of 1961. He was one of a very small number of people at the heart of Hudson during its formative period, with his office right between Herman's and mine. (Herman Kahn was the principal founder of Hudson and its intellectual leader and Director.)
To some extent there were two kinds of researchers at Hudson, those with special ideas and contributions and those who were integrators – although each of us had a foot in both camps. Tony was perhaps our top unifier. He worked with everybody – strengthening each of us with balance, perspective, and clarity.
Initially Hudson was devoted to military and international relations issues – our motto was "national security and international order." When, in about 1963, Herman started to add another dimension by agreeing to do a report for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) on The Year 2,000, it was natural for him to take Tony as his partner and co-author. Because he had a mind that could keep up with Herman and was very widely read and informed.
Herman had knack for saying things in a way that got attention because it sounded wild or even outrageous. Tony's proclivity was to explain the same idea in a way that showed how it flowed logically from accepted facts and ideas. Both approaches are valuable and Tony enabled us to combine them effectively. He made our work more civilized and academically respectable.
Max Singer is a Senior Fellow and Trustee Emeritus at Hudson Institute. He founded Hudson with Herman Kahn in 1961.
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