AI pioneer and Turing award winner Marvin Minsky dies
26 January 2016 | 0
His last book, The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind, was published in 2006. There he wrote that emotional states were not particularly different from thought processes, and said the purpose of the book was to suggest how human brains might work and to design machines that can feel and think.
A winner of several top awards, including the prestigious AM Turing Award in computer science in 1969, Minsky was born on 9 August 1927. After graduating from Harvard University, following a stint in the US Navy during World War II, he was awarded his PhD in mathematics in 1954 from Princeton University, where he also built the first neural network simulator, called the SNARC (Stochastic Neural Analog Reinforcement Calculator).
He thereafter joined the faculty of MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1958, and in the next year co-founded the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, which is now known as the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and focuses on ways of making systems and machines smarter and easier to use.
At the lab Minsky focused on recreating human capabilities such as perception and intelligence in machines, including by building robotic hands that could handle objects.
By 1985 Minsky became a founding member of the MIT Media Lab, which works on areas such as wearable computing, tangible interfaces, and affective computing, at the edges of different disciplines. Minsky was the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences there, and continued to teach and mentor until recently.
IDG News Service