Marvin Minsky, one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence, has died of a cerebral haemorrhage, aged 88. The mathematician and computer scientist was one of the world's foremost AI experts. As a student, he built one of the first neural-network learning machines, using vacuum tubes. He went on to cofound the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Artificial Intelligence Lab, in 1959, with John McCarthy. Prof Minsky's ideas and influence were wide-ranging - from computational linguistics, mathematics and robotics - but underpinning it all was a desire, in his own words, "to impart to machines the human capacity for commonsense reasoning".
Marvin Minsky was a neuro scientist, engineer and philosopher who considered the future of machines and computer learning. He died in January 2016 aged 88. He was on the MIT faculty from 1958 to his death. In 1959 he and John McCarthy founded what is now known as the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. In 1951, Minsky built the first randomly wired neural network learning machine, SNARC.
The pioneering artificial intelligence theorist Marvin Minsky died Sunday. So we thought it would be appropriate to ask for an obituary from one of his virtual descendants: Wordsmith, the automated news-writing bot from the company Automated Insights. It takes structured data--stuff that fits into a spreadsheet--and fits it into templates of increasing complexity. But Minsky was always interested in the differences and similarities between human and machine cognition, and arguably Wordsmith is cogitating every bit as hard as human reporters do on deadline. "You can start with things like their name, their age, the day the died, how they died.
The following excerpts are from an interview with Marvin Minsky which took place at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts, on January 23rd, 1991. The interview, which is included in its entirety as a Foreword in the book Understanding Music with AI: Perspectives on Music Cognition (edited by Mira Balaban, Kemal Ebcioglu, and Otto Laske), is a conversation about music, its peculiar features as a human activity, the special problems it poses for the scientist, and the suitability of AI methods for clarifying and/or solving some of these problems. The conversation is open-ended, and should be read accordingly, as a discourse to be continued at another time.