winston


The Storytelling Computer - Issue 75: Story

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What is it exactly that makes humans so smart? In his seminal 1950 paper, "Computer Machinery and Intelligence," Alan Turing argued human intelligence was the result of complex symbolic reasoning. Philosopher Marvin Minsky, cofounder of the artificial intelligence lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also maintained that reasoning--the ability to think in a multiplicity of ways that are hierarchical--was what made humans human. Patrick Henry Winston begged to differ. "I think Turing and Minsky were wrong," he told me in 2017. "We forgive them because they were smart and mathematicians, but like most mathematicians, they thought reasoning is the key, not the byproduct." Winston, a professor of computer science at MIT, and a former director of its AI lab, was convinced the key to human intelligence was storytelling. "My belief is the distinguishing characteristic of humanity is this keystone ability to have descriptions with which we construct stories. I think stories are what make us different from chimpanzees and Neanderthals. And if story-understanding is really where it's at, we can't understand our intelligence until we understand that aspect of it."


Professor Patrick Winston, former director of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, dies at 76

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Patrick Winston, a beloved professor and computer scientist at MIT, died on July 19 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. A professor at MIT for almost 50 years, Winston was director of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory from 1972 to 1997 before it merged with the Laboratory for Computer Science to become MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). A devoted teacher and cherished colleague, Winston led CSAIL's Genesis Group, which focused on developing AI systems that have human-like intelligence, including the ability to tell, perceive, and comprehend stories. He believed that such work could help illuminate aspects of human intelligence that scientists don't yet understand. "My principal interest is in figuring out what's going on inside our heads, and I'm convinced that one of the defining features of human intelligence is that we can understand stories,'" said Winston, the Ford Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, in a 2011 interview for CSAIL.


Professor Patrick Winston, former director of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, dies at 76

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Patrick Winston, a beloved professor and computer scientist at MIT, died on July 19 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. A professor at MIT for almost 50 years, Winston was director of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory from 1972 to 1997 before it merged with the Laboratory for Computer Science to become MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). A devoted teacher and cherished colleague, Winston led CSAIL's Genesis Group, which focused on developing AI systems that have human-like intelligence, including the ability to tell, perceive, and comprehend stories. He believed that such work could help illuminate aspects of human intelligence that scientists don't yet understand. "My principal interest is in figuring out what's going on inside our heads, and I'm convinced that one of the defining features of human intelligence is that we can understand stories,'" said Winston, the Ford Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, in a 2011 interview for CSAIL.


Thinking Like a Human: What It Means to Give AI a Theory of Mind

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Last month, a team of self-taught AI gamers lost spectacularly against human professionals in a highly-anticipated galactic melee. Taking place as part of the International Dota 2 Championships in Vancouver, Canada, the game showed that in broader strategic thinking and collaboration, humans still remain on top. The AI was a series of algorithms developed by the Elon Musk-backed non-profit OpenAI. Collectively dubbed the OpenAI Five, the algorithms use reinforcement learning to teach themselves how to play the game--and collaborate with each other--from scratch. Unlike chess or Go, the fast-paced multi-player Dota 2 video game is considered much harder for computers.


Artificial Intelligence & The Coming Global Empire

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A series of recent news stories have highlighted the massive advances made in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Yitu created a technology called Dragonfly. Dragonfly can search and analyze billions of photographs and locate a single person in a matter of seconds. Connected to cameras in the Shanghai Metro, it identified over 500 criminals in a three month period. It's so powerful it can recognize people wearing disguises.


Toil and trouble: How 'Macbeth' could teach computers to think - The Boston Globe

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Patrick Winston's computer is learning about revenge, ambition, and murder. It knows that victory can make you happy. But it also knows you can't be happy if you're dead. The computer had to learn these things in order to read "Macbeth" -- or, rather, an extremely truncated version of Shakespeare's blood-soaked Scottish tragedy. At just 37 sentences, the rough summary reduces the Bard's immortal poetics to such clunkers as, "Witches had visions and danced" and "Lady Macbeth has bad dreams."


Andrew Winston Using AI to Help the World Thrive

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Winston is founder of Winston Eco-Strategies and an adviser to multinationals on how they can navigate humanity's biggest challenges and profit from solving them. He is the coauthor of the international bestseller Green to Gold and, more recently, the author of the popular book The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World.


The AI Program at the National Aeronautics & Space Administration

AI Magazine

Thsi article is a slightly modified version of an invited address that was given at the Eighth IEEE Conference on Artificial Intelligence for Applications in Monterey, California, on 2 March 1992. It describes the lessons learned in developing and implementing the Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In so doing, the article provides a historical perspective of the program in terms of the stages it went through as it matured. These stages are similar to the "ages of artificial intelligence" that Pat Winston described a year before the NASA program was initiated. The final section of the article attempts to generalize some of the lessons learned during the first seven years of the NASA AI program into AI program management heuristics.


Computational Models of Narrative: Review of the Workshop

AI Magazine

On October 8-10, 2009, an interdisciplinary group met in Beverley, Massachusetts, to evaluate the state of the art in the computational modeling of narrative. Three important findings emerged: (1) current work in computational modeling is described by three different levels of representation; (2) there is a paucity of studies at the highest, most abstract level aimed at inferring the meaning or message of the narrative; and (3) there is a need to establish a standard data bank of annotated narratives, analogous to the Penn Treebank. We use them to entertain, communicate, convince, and explain. One workshop participant noted that "as far as I know, every society in the world has stories, which suggests they have a psychological basis, that stories do something for you." To truly understand and explain human intelligence, reasoning, and beliefs, we need to understand why narrative is universal and explain the function it serves. Computational modeling is a natural method for investigating narrative. As a complex cognitive phenomenon, narrative touches on many areas that have traditionally been of interest to artificial intelligence researchers: its different facets draw on our capacities for natural language understanding and generation, commonsense reasoning, analogical reasoning, planning, physical perception (through imagination), and social cognition. Successful modeling will undoubtedly require researchers from these many perspectives and more, using a multitude of different techniques from the AI toolkit, ranging from, for example, detailed symbolic knowledge representation to largescale statistical analyses. The relevance of AI to narrative, and vice versa, is compelling.


MIT professor and ThinkPad superfan: "Storytelling" machines key to unlocking artificial intelligence - Lenovo Think Stories

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In Winston's Genesis Group, which is part of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Winston and squadrons of his students have painstakingly built technology that can analyze roughly 100-line texts written for computers on subjects such as Shakespeare, international cyber conflict, and fairy tales. Genesis compares stories; detects concepts such as love or revenge, even when they are not named; concludes whether a short-term gain leads to a long-term loss; and explains acts based on personality traits. The system can even analyze a text through a filter of cultural bias, thus interpreting an event like the cyber attack on Estonia by Russia in 2007 from the point of view of people in one or the other country.