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.


What I think is wrong with modern research


The conflict between AI research and computer science
Marvin Minsky Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

It’s that the artificial intelligence researchers were more... more flexible and experimental and if they weren’t successful on a particular problem they would move to another one, whereas the more professional people had to keep focusing on particular problems in electrical engineering or physics. And so the communities were different because the AI people were more like science fiction readers and writers and these people were more like business people who had to show a profit or had to get certain problems solved because they had to teach other students who would go out and become practitioners, so that you could say that, if you look at the world of research, there’s the kind of research where you’re exploring ideas that might take 20 or 30 years to mature and you can’t expect a company to pay for that because it will just be a minus on its balance sheet for as long as the stockholders… investors are looking at it.

Whereas, if you have an established profession then you can know how… what is the value of a particular advance and decide where to put your money and optimize things. So I think there’s a serious problem in the way governments and institutions have to allocate the long term basic res… when I say basic research we mean almost the opposite of basic. It means doing things where you’re not sure that they’re important yet. When they call it basic that’s an attempt to dignify it.

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: artificial intelligence

Duration: 1 minute, 59 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 12 May 2011