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Switching from teaching math to artificial intelligence


Publishing Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence
Marvin Minsky Scientist
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I had written this paper in 1957 called Heuris… something… something about heuristics, and that made quite a hit. It was never published, but it was circulated all over the world, and that’s what I worked on, making… improving that theory, and… I think in 1961 I published a huge paper called Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence, which was… I know, the… the early paper was called Heuristic Aspects of the Artificial Intelligence Problem; heuristic means the art of discovery, how do you invent things; and so I had written this paper which was published at Lincoln and circulated, but was never in a journal. Then in 1961 I published… I was almost… it’s almost a book, and that was… Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence. And that… that sort of established the whole field as being pretty serious because it had 300 references, and… and in fact the bibliography was published by Licklider as an appendix to his paper on man-machine interaction; Licklider had turned into a prophet in the meantime.

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: 1957, Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence, Heuristic Aspects of the Artificial Intelligence Problem, Joseph Licklider

Duration: 1 minute, 40 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 09 May 2011