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Remembering Marvin Minsky

While I was working at One Laptop per Child, I noticed a small, birdlike man perched over my shoulder looking at my two screens. Hmmm he looks familiar from one of my books maybe, oh shit, it’s Marvin Minsky!

Henry, what are you doing?

!He knows my name!

This to me was roughly the equivalent of being a fair to middling painter tending to your business and suddenly Leonardo da Vinci shows up and is asking you what are you doing, by name.

SO I explained well I am doing this that and the other thing and then I said you know Marvin, 90% of what I am doing is repetitive in nature and goes in through standard in and out through standard out. When can I have an AI that can do this 90% of the work for me?

And without pausing he said. “Five years.”


We both busted out laughing.

The same answer, I suppose, he had been giving since 1959, when he co-founded the predecessor of CSAIL, the year he became an MIT Professor and the year I was born.

I also had a long conversation with him in another instance about how AI needed to use the basic story structures of folklore in order to construct narratives about events that humans would remember and regard as credible and later I gave him a copy of Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale.

A great mind, an excellent listener and a lovely gentleman.

Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy

Marvin Minsky, Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence, Dies at 88

29 January, 2016 - Posted by | AI, Artificial Intelligence, folktale, Marvin Minsky, Rememberence, scanlyze, Vladimir Propp | , , , , , , , , , ,

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