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Meeting people in the Navy who couldn't swim


Sidestepping the army draft by joining the Navy
Marvin Minsky Scientist
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I finished school in 1944 – spring – and… and at that time of course World War II was still running and I would have been drafted into the military, but the news came around that there was a… arrangement that you could volunteer to enlist in the Navy and they would guarantee you a year of training in electronics. The Navy was short of radar and radio specialists and all that sort of thing, and they had a school in Chicago for training people in this field. So in fact I enlisted in the Navy because I was almost certain to be drafted otherwise; nothing else wrong with me.

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: WWII, Chicago

Duration: 1 minute, 12 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 09 May 2011