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.
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, who has died aged 88, was a pioneer of artificial intelligence. In 1958 he co-founded the Artificial Intelligence Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Subsequently known as the AI Lab, it became a mecca for artificial intelligence research. His published works included Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence (1960), a manifesto that profoundly shaped AI in its earliest days, and Society of Mind (1985), which postulated that the brain is fundamentally an assembly of interacting, specialised, autonomous agents for tasks such as visual processing and knowledge management. That view of the architecture of the mind remains a cornerstone of AI research.
The history of artificial intelligence (AI) began in antiquity, with myths, stories and rumors of artificial beings endowed with intelligence or consciousness by master craftsmen; as Pamela McCorduck writes, AI began with "an ancient wish to forge the gods." The seeds of modern AI were planted by classical philosophers who attempted to describe the process of human thinking as the mechanical manipulation of symbols. This work culminated in the invention of the programmable digital computer in the 1940s, a machine based on the abstract essence of mathematical reasoning. This device and the ideas behind it inspired a handful of scientists to begin seriously discussing the possibility of building an electronic brain. The Turing test was proposed by British mathematician Alan Turing in his 1950 paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence, which opens with the words: "I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?'" The term'Artificial Intelligence' was created at a conference held at Dartmouth College in 1956. Allen Newell, J. C. Shaw, and Herbert A. Simon pioneered the newly created artificial intelligence field with the Logic Theory Machine (1956), and the General Problem Solver in 1957. In 1958, John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky started the MIT Artificial Intelligence lab with 50,000. John McCarthy also created LISP in the summer of 1958, a programming language still important in artificial intelligence research. In 1973, in response to the criticism of James Lighthill and ongoing pressure from congress, the U.S. and British Governments stopped funding undirected research into artificial intelligence. Seven years later, a visionary initiative by the Japanese Government inspired governments and industry to provide AI with billions of dollars, but by the late 80s the investors became disillusioned and withdrew funding again. McCorduck (2004) writes "artificial intelligence in one form or another is an idea that has pervaded Western intellectual history, a dream in urgent need of being realized," expressed in humanity's myths, legends, stories, speculation and clockwork automatons. Mechanical men and artificial beings appear in Greek myths, such as the golden robots of Hephaestus and Pygmalion's Galatea. In the Middle Ages, there were rumors of secret mystical or alchemical means of placing mind into matter, such as J?bir ibn Hayy?n's Takwin, Paracelsus' homunculus and Rabbi Judah Loew's Golem. By the 19th century, ideas about artificial men and thinking machines were developed in fiction, as in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or Karel?apek's