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How computers developed at MIT


Facial recognition machines
Marvin Minsky Scientist
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There was quite a lot of effort to build a machine that would recognize a face and in the last few years they’ve become fairly successful at it, I... I believe. But it’s not clear that they’ve learned very much about solving other problems. It would be nice to know how human brains do it and I don’t think there’s enough information yet, but I’ve seen descriptions of research that suggest that we might have special brain centers that have evolved for recognizing features of eyes and a few things like that. But for identifying people, fingerprints or eye... retinal eye patterns are pretty easily automated and pretty reliable, although... we often see convictions reversed because somebody made a mistake on the fingerprint identification.

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: Face recognition, fingerprint, retinal eye patterns

Duration: 1 minute, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 12 May 2011