Marvin Minsky is one of the great pioneers of artificial intelligence — and using computing metaphors to understand the human mind. His contributions to mathematics, robotics and computational linguistics are legendary and far-reaching.

Why you should listen

Marvin Minsky is the superstar-elder of artificial intelligence, one of the most productive and important cognitive scientists of the century, and the leading proponent of the Society of Mind theory. Articulated in his 1985 book of the same name, Minsky's theory says intelligence is not born of any single mechanism, but from the interaction of many independent agents. The book's sequel,The Emotion Machine (2006), says similar activity also accounts for feelings, goals, emotions and conscious thoughts.

Minsky also pioneered advances in mathematics, computational linguistics, optics, robotics and telepresence. He built SNARC, the first neural network simulator, some of the first visual scanners, and the first LOGO "turtle." From his headquarters at MIT's Media Lab and the AI Lab (which he helped found), he continues to work on, as he says, "imparting to machines the human capacity for commonsense reasoning."

Marvin Minsky’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Marvin Minsky

Live from TED2016

‘An impish sage’: Remembering Marvin Minsky onstage at TED2016

February 17, 2016

Onstage at TED this evening, Danny Hillis spoke a few words to remember his friend, the artificial intelligence researcher, cognitive scientist and longtime TEDster Marvin Minsky, who died in late January of this year. As Hillis looked out into the audience, he wondered “how many of you he challenged or irritated or made laugh…” Once Minsky’s student, Hillis recalled: […]

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Health, population and the human mind: Marvin Minsky on

September 22, 2008

Listen closely — Marvin Minsky‘s arch, eclectic, charmingly offhand talk on health, overpopulation and the human mind is packed with subtlety: wit, wisdom and just an ounce of wily, is-he-joking? advice. (Recorded February 2003 in Monterey, California. Duration: 13:33.)   Watch Marvin Minsky’s talk on, where you can download this TEDTalk, rate it, comment […]

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