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How things got done at the AI lab


My covert dating tactics
Marvin Minsky Scientist
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One day I went to visit her at her home in a house near the beach in... in Bell Harbor, New York, just a suburb of the City; and in fact I… we went with… I went with John McCarthy, and for some reason we had arranged for Gloria’s parents to think that he was the one she was dating, to keep them from focusing their attention on me. Then somewhat later, there was this… what I call the telephone story, which is that I went to visit Gloria at… when she was a resident at Bellevue Hospital in New York, and I happened to arrive when the telephone switchboard wasn’t working – a room full of nice ladies with microphones and switching calls around – and I don’t remember what was wrong, but I managed to fix the thing, so the calls started going through again. And after that, I’m told they didn’t send Gloria telephone calls from other young men but only from me, so that… that may have facilitated our future relationships.

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: Bell Harbor, New York, Bellevue Hospital, John McCarthy

Duration: 1 minute, 47 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 09 May 2011