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Producing The Society of Mind


Representations of the mind, knowledge and thinking
Marvin Minsky Scientist
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In the 1970s... while working with these students and with other... a few other researchers like... mostly Seymour Papert, who was my partner in a lot of these... these researches, but also some of our former students like Gerald Sussman and Patrick Winston, we developed all sorts of little theories about different aspects of thinking and theories of how... about how people recognize situations, how people make descriptions and represent memories and just so many different aspects of psychology that needed to be explained. And I made several attempts to… to describe these ideas, so I wrote a paper about a certain way of representing some kinds of knowledge in what I called frames, because they’re sort of like pictures enclosed in a... in a box that is... that you can file away and bring back. And then I had other ideas like scripts, which had also been developed by a friend named Roger Schank at Yale, and that was the idea of describing a process as a series of actions or a steps or situations and he worked out all sorts of ways that you could use these scripts for thinking or for solving problems, that’s another representation.

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: Yale University, 1970s, Seymour Papert, Gerald Sussman, Patrick Winston

Duration: 1 minute, 52 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 12 May 2011