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Marvin Minsky's Legacy of Students and Ideas


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The late Marvin Minsky.

The late computer science pioneer and ACM A.M. Turing Award recipient Marvin Minsky left behind a wealth of ideas, and scientists whom he served as a teacher and inspiration are continuing his vaunted legacy with their own students.

Credit: Hank Morgan/Science Faction/Corbis

The late computer science pioneer and ACM A.M. Turing Award recipient Marvin Minsky left behind a wealth of ideas, and scientists whom he served as a teacher and inspiration are continuing his vaunted legacy with their own students.

Other honors Minsky earned included the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Pioneer Award and the Franklin Institute's Benjamin Franklin Medal. He also co-founded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Minsky's research was in the pursuit of artificial intelligence (AI) that could really think, as opposed to computers having the semblance of thinking via their data-crunching abilities.

"He saw the developments of the last few years as steps in the wrong direction," says TTI/Vanguard director Steven Cherry. "Google and Facebook are exploiting their vast datasets, using deep learning. But Minsky saw this as achieving short-term gains at the expense of solving the real machine-intelligence problem."

Minsky was aware of the dangers and challenges of AI that could learn like human beings, but he thought people would be able to contend with these challenges.

From IEEE Spectrum
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