Saturday, January 20, 2007

Marvin Minsky's new book on Artificial Intelligence

1 comment :
I have been a fan of Marvin Minsky's writing since a professor in library school introduced me to some of his work through coursework which lead me to read Minsky's Society of the Mind. Minsky is the co-founder of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab and is considered one of the leaders in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) world. The Society of the Mind paints a high level picture of what Minsky considers the basis of how the mind works- a collection of specialized agents that working together allow for complex thoughts and actions. The premise of course at a very high level, is that if computers can replicated the way those agents are produced and work together- artificial intelligence is created.

From my
ACM Technews newsletter comes an announcement of Minsky's new book the Emotion Machine and a pointer to a recent interview. According to the interview article, the book provides a blueprint for a thinking machine that Minsky would like to build—an artificial intelligence that can reflect on itself. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

"What are your latest ideas about the mind, as set out in The Emotion Machine?
The theme of the book is that humans are uniquely resourceful because they have several ways to do everything. If you think about something, you might think about it in terms of language, or in logical terms, or in terms of diagrams, pictures, or structures. If one method doesn't work, you can quickly switch to another. That's why we're so good at dealing with so many situations."

and on commonsense thinking:

"This is important because the way people solve problems is first by having an enormous amount of commonsense knowledge, like maybe 50 million little anecdotes or entries, and then having some unknown system for finding among those 50 million old stories the 5 or 10 that seem most relevant to the situation."

The book has mixed reviews on Amazon.com- but i am sure that since i am not a neuroscientist, i will find something interesting and thought provoking as i continue to work on information overload issues in the enterprise-because consumption of content is tied to our knowledge, understanding and current 'on demand' needs- so it is already in the mail.