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Analogy is the difference between human and computer thinking

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Will machines ever understand Aesop's fables?
Marvin Minsky Scientist
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To this day, you can find computers that can do many specialized things like making airplane reservations or calculating the rate at which two chemicals will react or solve various kinds of physics problems and other scientific things or economic ones, but there are no programs that could read a simple story, like an Aesop’s fable and say something about what’s the moral of this tale or what kind of person would be pleased to hear that story and who would be annoyed or just generally, there’s no computer program that knows anything much about people or the practical objects in... in the real world.

Marvin Minsky (1927-2016) was one of the pioneers of the field of Artificial Intelligence, founding the MIT AI lab in 1970. He also made many contributions to the fields of mathematics, cognitive psychology, robotics, optics and computational linguistics. Since the 1950s, he had been attempting to define and explain human cognition, the ideas of which can be found in his two books, The Emotion Machine and The Society of Mind. His many inventions include the first confocal scanning microscope, the first neural network simulator (SNARC) and the first LOGO 'turtle'.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Aesop's fables, Aesop

Duration: 52 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 12 May 2011