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Marvin Minsky, “father of artificial intelligence,” dies at 88

Marvin Minsky father of artificial intelligence dies at 88 MIT News

Minsky viewed the brain as a machine whose functioning can be studied and replicated in a computer — which would teach us, in turn, to better understand the human brain and higher-level mental functions: How might we endow machines with common sense — the knowledge humans acquire every day through experience? How, for example, do we teach a sophisticated computer that to drag an object on a string, you need to pull, not push — a concept easily mastered by a two-year-old child?

A native New Yorker, Minsky was born on Aug. 9, 1927, and entered Harvard University after returning from service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After graduating from Harvard with honors in 1950, he attended Princeton University, receiving his PhD in mathematics in 1954. In 1951, his first year at Princeton, he built the first neural network simulator.

Minsky joined the faculty of MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1958, and co-founded the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (now the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) the following year. At the AI Lab, he aimed to explore how to endow machines with human-like perception and intelligence. He created robotic hands that can manipulate objects, developed new programming frameworks, and wrote extensively about philosophical issues in artificial intelligence.


Stashed in: History of Tech!, Turing, MIT TR, Harvard, R.I.P., MIT, Artificial Intelligence

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He was truly one of the parents of AI.

What happens in the future builds on what he helped create.

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