May 7, 2021
This week in The History of AI at AIWS.net – Marvin Minsky publishes The Society of Mind in 1987. This book is a theoretical description of the mind as a collection of cooperating agents.
Marvin Minsky was an American cognitive and computer scientist. 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 in 1956. Minsky would also make significant contributions to artificial intelligence, both in the study of the field and in popular culture. He won the Turing Award in 1969.
The Society of Mind is a book on the theory of “Society of Mind”, which came out of Marvin Minsky’s own thinking. In the book, Minsky describes the mind as a collection of mindless but cooperating “agents”. He first started developing the theory with Seymour Papert in the 1970s, but worked on it and published the book at a later point. The book is viewable at the Internet Archive.
Although the book does not directly reference or influence the development of artificial intelligence, it displays the theoretical dimensions of Marvin Minsky, the AI pioneer. The book also gives a glimpse into Minsky’s thinking in building artificial intelligence. Thus, the HAI initiative considers this an event in the history of AI.