Summary: Marvin Minsky, pioneer of artificial intelligence, died on January 24th, aged 88. “Every thought, hence all intelligence, was the result of cascades of pulses rippling through networks of semi-autonomous agents, the neurons, each connected to countless others. Since men thought like machines, it should be perfectly possible to build, with simulated neurons, a machine that could think like a man.” Minsky “dreamt of programming a machine which, in reasoning by analogy and learning from experience, would approximately reach the level of a three-year-old child; for that was much more difficult.” Real neurons “were arranged in columns of apparently hierarchical layers, he had to find a way of working top-down as well as bottom-up.” Besides his obsession for A.I., Minsky invented also a confocal scanning microscope and robotic “seeing hands” for surgery. “He lived just long enough to see the reemergence of his theory of neural networks, as the data-crunching capabilities and “deep learning” of modern computers began at last to approximate to the workings of the brain.”

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Author: Economist

Language of Article: English

Publishing date: 2016, February 13