a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Collaborations in my career


The Society of Mind theory developed from teaching
Marvin Minsky Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

We stopped writing together so much and I went on working on the... what became the chapters of The Society of Mind. So, in that period I had fewer students, but still a small number of very good ones who did work on some of these theories. And this happened in the environment of the Media Lab, but in effect I had stopped building robots and inventing gadgets and was spending more time trying to develop the successive levels of this theory. And so, The Society of Mind has this 300 pages of... each describing a few... couple of ideas and connections with others and... that was a... that happened in the early years of being at the Media Lab. A lot of these ideas – of course – developed by... by teaching things in a course. So every year I would give a course which involved lectures on the current state of ideas about these different topics. And the great thing was that there were no exams in this course, but the students had to write papers; short papers and then a longer paper toward the end of the term. And then, I usually got a few of the older... ex-students or graduate students to... to read those papers and summarise them and sort of grade them, but the main thing was that this was a... almost a decade of getting people to do thought experiments or... on... on developing these ideas. So, in the early years of the artificial intelligence lab, I was directly involved in most of the actual experiments and projects for programming computers to do things. And then this period, I’m working on these hundreds of small theories and trying to fit them together and getting students to write little essays about that. And that was most of the years that I was at the Media Lab.

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: The Society of Mind, The Media Lab

Duration: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 13 May 2011