Marvin Minsky — Society of The Mind

Posted on March 10, 2018. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Books, Computers, Non-Fiction, Systems | Tags: , , , , , |

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Marvin Minsky – Why the “Society of Mind” is crucial for understanding intelligence (92/151)

Marvin Minsky – Seymour Papert’s theory of constructivism (142/151)

Marvin Minsky – The Society of Mind theory developed from teaching (143/151)

Marvin Minsky

Marvin Minsky – Artificial Intelligence

Kurzweil Interviews Minsky: Is Singularity Near?

Dr. Marvin Minsky — Immortal minds are a matter of time

Marvin Minsky on Singularity 1 on 1: The Turing Test is a Joke!

Marvin Minsky – Unreliable childhood memories (2/151)

Marvin MInsky – Having intelligent friends (6/151)

Marvin Minsky – An early understanding of basic physics (11/151)

Marvin Minsky – Inventing new mathematics (17/151)


Marvin Minsky – The careers I didn’t choose (18/151)

Marvin Minsky – A short history of neural networks (21/151)

Marvin Minsky – John Nash solves my PhD problem (25/151)

Marvin Minsky – Why I changed from bottom-up to top-down thinking (26/151)

Marvin Minsky – The end of my PhD on learning machines (27/151)

Marvin Minsky – The frustration of teaching calculus at MIT (41/151)

Marvin Minsky – AI programs ‘devolving’ from calculus to geometry (62/151)

Marvin Minsky – How computers developed at MIT (65/151)

Marvin Minsky – What I think is wrong with modern research (67/151)

Marvin Minsky – Freeman Dyson proves what I couldn’t (71/151)

Marvin MInsky – The history of the laws of physics (80/151)

Marvin Minsky – Losing students to lucrative careers (84/151)

Marvin Minsky – Psychology should not be like physics (85/151)

Marvin Minsky – A theory of why evolution is a slow process (93/151)

Marvin Minsky – The philosophy of thinking in threes (111/151)

Marvin Minsky – Why I got on so well with Claude Shannon (125/151)

Marvin Minsky – The cleverest rat (133/151)

Marvin Minsky – My relationship with Richard Feynman (146/151)

1. Introduction

2. Falling In Love

3. Cognitive Architectures

4. Question and Answer Session 1

5. From Panic to Suffering

6. Layers of Mental Activities

7. Layered Knowledge Representations

8. Question and Answer Session 2

9. Common Sense

10. Question and Answer Session 3

11. Mind vs. Brain: Confessions of a Defector

12. Question and Answer Session 4

13. Closing Thoughts

Ray Kurzweil Remembers Marvin Minsky


Marvin Minsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Marvin Minsky
Marvin Minsky at OLPCb.jpg

Minsky in 2008
Born Marvin Lee Minsky
August 9, 1927
New York CityNew York, U.S.
Died January 24, 2016 (aged 88)
BostonMassachusetts, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Phillips Academy
Harvard University (B.A., 1950)
Princeton University (Ph.D., 1954)
Known for
Scientific career
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Thesis Theory of Neural-Analog Reinforcement Systems and Its Application to the Brain Model Problem (1954)
Doctoral advisor Albert W. Tucker[9][10]
Doctoral students
Influenced David Waltz[citation needed]

Marvin Lee Minsky (August 9, 1927 – January 24, 2016) was an American cognitive scientist concerned largely with research of artificial intelligence (AI), co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s AI laboratory, and author of several texts concerning AI and philosophy.[12][13][14][15]


Marvin Lee Minsky was born in New York City, to an eye surgeon father, Henry, and to a mother, Fannie, who was an activist of Zionist affairs.[15][16] His family was Jewish. He attended the Ethical Culture Fieldston School and the Bronx High School of Science. He later attended Phillips Academy in AndoverMassachusetts. He then served in the US Navy from 1944 to 1945. He received a B.A. in mathematics from Harvard University (1950) and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University (1954).[17][18]

He was on the MIT faculty from 1958 to his death. He joined the staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 1958, and a year later he and John McCarthyinitiated what is known now as the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.[19][20] He was the Toshiba Professor of Media Artsand Sciences, and professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

Contributions in computer science

3D profile of a coin (partial) measured with a modern confocal white light microscope.

Minsky’s inventions include the first head-mounted graphical display (1963)[21] and the confocal microscope[2][22] (1957, a predecessor to today’s widely used confocal laser scanning microscope). He developed, with Seymour Papert, the first Logo “turtle“. Minsky also built, in 1951, the first randomly wired neural network learning machine, SNARC.

Minsky wrote the book Perceptrons (with Seymour Papert), which became the foundational work in the analysis of artificial neural networks. This book is the center of a controversy in the history of AI, as some claim it to have had great importance in discouraging research of neural networks in the 1970s, and contributing to the so-called “AI winter“.[23] He also founded several other famous AI models. His book A framework for representing knowledge created a new paradigm in programming. While his Perceptrons is now more a historical than practical book, the theory of frames is in wide use.[24] Minsky has also written on the possibility that extraterrestrial life may think like humans, permitting communication.[25]

In the early 1970s, at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, Minsky and Papert started developing what came to be known as the Society of Mind theory. The theory attempts to explain how what we call intelligence could be a product of the interaction of non-intelligent parts. Minsky says that the biggest source of ideas about the theory came from his work in trying to create a machine that uses a robotic arm, a video camera, and a computer to build with children’s blocks. In 1986, Minsky published The Society of Mind, a comprehensive book on the theory which, unlike most of his previously published work, was written for the general public.

In November 2006, Minsky published The Emotion Machine, a book that critiques many popular theories of how human minds work and suggests alternative theories, often replacing simple ideas with more complex ones. Recent drafts of the book are freely available from his webpage.[26]

Role in popular culture

Minsky was an adviser[27] on Stanley Kubrick‘s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey; one of the movie’s characters, Victor Kaminski, was named in Minsky’s honor[28]. Minsky himself is explicitly mentioned in Arthur C. Clarke‘s derivative novel of the same name, where he is portrayed as achieving a crucial break-through in artificial intelligence in the then-future 1980s, paving the way for HAL 9000 in the early 21st century:

In the 1980s, Minsky and Good had shown how neural networks could be generated automatically—self replicated—in accordance with any arbitrary learning program. Artificial brains could be grown by a process strikingly analogous to the development of a human brain. In any given case, the precise details would never be known, and even if they were, they would be millions of times too complex for human understanding.[29]

Personal life

The Minskytron or “Three Position Display” running on the Computer History Museum‘s PDP-1, 2007

In 1952, Minsky married pediatrician Gloria Rudisch; together they had three children.[30] Minsky was a talented improvisational pianist[31] who published musings on the relations between music and psychology.


Minsky was an atheist[32] and a signatory to the Scientists’ Open Letter on Cryonics.[33] He was a critic of the Loebner Prize for conversational robots.[34][35]

Minsky believed that there is no fundamental difference between humans and machines, and that humans are machines whose “intelligence” emerges from the interplay of the many unintelligent but semi-autonomous agents that comprise the brain.[36] He has stated that “somewhere down the line, some computers will become more intelligent than most people,” but that it’s very hard to predict how fast progress will be.[37] He has cautioned that an artificial superintelligence designed to solve an innocuous mathematical problem might decide to assume control of Earth’s resources to build supercomputers to help achieve its goal,[38] but believed that such negative scenarios are “hard to take seriously” because he was confident AI would go through “a lot of testing” before being deployed.[39]


Minsky died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 88.[40] Minsky was a member of Alcor‘s Scientific Advisory Board,[41] and is believed to have been cryonically preserved by Alcor,[42] presumably as ‘Patient 144’, whose cooling procedures began on January 27, 2016.[43]

Bibliography (selected)

Awards and affiliations

Minsky won the Turing Award (the greatest distinction in computer science)[36] in 1969, the Japan Prize in 1990, the IJCAI Award for Research Excellence for 1991, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Franklin Institute for 2001.[44] In 2006, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Computer History Museum “for co-founding the field of artificial intelligence, creating early neural networks and robots, and developing theories of human and machine cognition.”[45] In 2011, Minsky was inducted into IEEE Intelligent Systems‘ AI Hall of Fame for the “significant contributions to the field of AI and intelligent systems”.[46][47] In 2014, Minsky won the Dan David Prize for “Artificial Intelligence, the Digital Mind”.[48] He was also awarded with the 2013 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Information and Communication Technologies category.[49]

Minsky was affiliated with the following organizations:

See also


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The Cost of Public Education and The Results–Videos

Posted on May 31, 2012. Filed under: American History, Books, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, High School, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Public Sector, Raves, Regulations, Taxes, Unemployment, Unions, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Current per-pupil expenditures for public elementary and secondary education in the United States: 2008–09

Bill Gates: How state budgets are breaking US schools

The True Cost of Public Education

Education Spending in the US – Dissecting the Data

Linda Darling-Hammond on Becoming Internationally Competitive

Andreas Schleicher in conversation with Thoughts on Public Education, part 1

Andreas Schleicher in conversation with Thoughts on Public Education, part 2

EWA Interview: Andreas Schleicher on America’s Standing Among World Education Systems

Andreas Schleicher talks with EWA’s Dale Mezzacappa about how American education policy differs from other countries (0:01); strategies for recruiting highly-qualified teachers to low-performing schools (1:30); and how countries can change their approaches to bring about school improvement (5:30).

Dr. Schleicher is special adviser on education policy to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s secretary-general. As head of OECD’s programs on indicators and analysis in the Directorate for Education, he is also responsible for the development and analysis of benchmarks on the performance of education systems and on the impact of knowledge and skills on economic and social outcomes.

This interview was recorded at EWA’s 64th National Seminar in April 2011 and was made possible in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Eminent Voices: Andreas Schleicher

Andreas Schleicher, Head of the Indicators and Analysis Division, OECD Directorate for Education, addresses participants at the Alliance for Excellent Education’s “Losing Our Edge: Are American Students Unprepared for the Global Economy?” event held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on December 3, 2007.

Andreas Schleicher’s entire video and slide presentation is available at Mr. Schleicher’s video/slide presentation cannot be posted on YouTube as it is an interactive media experience.

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 1

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 2

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 3

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 4

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 5

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 6

PISA – Measuring student success around the world

American Dream-US Students Lagging in Global Test Scores-01-17-2011-(Part1)

American Dream-US Students Lagging in Global Test Scores-01-17-2011-(Part2)

American Dream-US Students Lagging in Global Test Scores-01-17-2011-(Part3)

Finland’s education success

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