Marvin Minsky is often called the Father of Artificial Intelligence and I have been looking for an opportunity to interview him for years. I was hoping that I will finally get my chance at the GF2045 conference in NY City. Unfortunately, Prof. Minsky had bronchitis and consequently had to speak via video. A week later, though still recovering, Marvin generously gave me a 30 min interview while attending the ISTAS13 Veilance conference in Toronto. Hope that you enjoy this brief but rare opportunity as much as I did!
During our conversation with Marvin Minsky we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: how he moved from biology and mathematics to Artificial Intelligence; his personal motivation and most proud accomplishment; the importance of science fiction – in general, and his take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – in particular; the Turing Test; the importance of theory of mind; the Human Brain Project; the technological singularity and why he thinks that progress in AI has stalled; his personal advice to young AI researchers…
(As always you can listen to or download the audio file above, or scroll down and watch the video interview in full. If you want to help me produce more episodes please make a donation)
Who is Marvin Minsky?
Marvin Minsky has made many contributions to AI, cognitive psychology, mathematics, computational linguistics, robotics, and optics. In recent years he has worked chiefly on imparting to machines the human capacity for commonsense reasoning. His conception of human intellectual structure and function is presented in two books: The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind and The Society of Mind (which is also the title of the course he teaches at MIT).
He received the BA and PhD in mathematics at Harvard (1950) and Princeton (1954). In 1951 he built the SNARC, the first neural network simulator. His other inventions include mechanical arms, hands and other robotic devices, the Confocal Scanning Microscope, the “Muse” synthesizer for musical variations (with E. Fredkin), and one of the first LOGO “turtles”. A member of the NAS, NAE and Argentine NAS, he has received the ACM Turing Award, the MIT Killian Award, the Japan Prize, the IJCAI Research Excellence Award, the Rank Prize and the Robert Wood Prize for Optoelectronics, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal.