September 25, 2021
This week in The History of AI at AIWS.net – Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert published Perceptrons in 1969. The book explored the concept of the “perceptron”, but also highlighted its limitations. It was also pessimistic in its predictions for AI, and was thought to have been a cause for the first AI winter. There was a revised and expanded edition published in 1988, which added a chapter countering criticisms of the book made in the twenty years after its publication.
Marvin Minksy was an important pioneer in the field of AI. He penned the research proposal for the Dartmouth Conference, which coined the term “Artificial Intelligence”, and he was a participant in it when it was hosted the next summer. Minsky would also co-founded the MIT AI labs, which went through different names, and the MIT Media Laboratory. In terms of popular culture, he was an adviser to Stanley Kubrick’s acclaimed movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. He won the Turing Award in 1969.
Seymour Papert was a South African-born mathematician and computer scientist. He was mainly associated with MIT for his teaching and research. He was also a pioneer in Artificial Intelligence. Papert was also a co-creator of the Logo programming language, which is used educationally.
The History of AI initiative considers this publication important because it furthered discourses on AI, specifically on perceptrons. The book was also a cause for the first AI winter, a pivotal event in the history of AI. Furthermore, Marvin Minsky was one of the founders of AI. Thus, HAI sees Perceptrons as meaningful in the development of Artificial Intelligence.